When I take Milly to school every other Monday we tend to have really good conversations. I just felt like writing about this morning, so here goes.

When I take Milly to school I get up at 6:15. Well, that’s what time I set my alarm for. I have this thing where I tend to wake up early and have trouble falling back asleep when I know I have to be up at a certain time. Anyway, I sat in bed checking on some games and reading the news for about an hour, then got up, got dressed and all, then woke Milly up.

I used to just pick Milly up and set her in front of the toilet, then she’d do her thing while groggily waking up. I noticed this weekend that she’s getting a little harder to pick up and toss around, and she’s in a bunk bed now anyway, so I can’t do that anymore, which is probably for the best so she can help herself wake up. This morning I just turned her light on, said, “Good morning, Sunshine,” then rubbed her belly as she stretched. My dad used to do that, the belly rubbing part, when we were little.

She eventually got up and brushed her teeth, got dressed and all that. I let her have a Poptart as part of breakfast today. They came from Pappy (Tristen’s dad), who had to get rid of all the sugary food in the house, so I wasn’t sure what flavor they were. Milly took a bite and said she thought it was “vanilla-y.” That made me think of Milli Vanilli, so I asked her if anyone ever called her that. I think I remember her Nana (Amanda’s mom) say people would call her that after being told what her name was going to be, though I could be wrong on that. Anyway, Milly said that her cousin Addy’s Memaw calls her that sometimes.

I asked if she knew where that came from, which led to a discussion about the disgraced pop duo. I showed her the video for Blame it on the Rain and surprised myself with how much of the song I remembered. She was fine with just hearing the one song when I asked if she wanted to hear any of their other hits.

The eastern sky was ablaze in a rich, burning orange with tinges of pink in the wings. Milly was properly impressed by this display of natural splendor and said-sang, “Hello sunrise, my old friend.” I was somewhat impressed with the reference and asked if she knew what that came from. She correctly answered, “Hello darkness, my old friend.” I asked where she knew it from and she said it’s used a little on Trolls and her friend Abigail sometimes sings it. She didn’t know the original song though, so I had her look it up on YouTube on my phone and we played it over Bluetooth to the car speakers.

She didn’t seem bored by it, and in fact asked me what it was about after it was done. She said that lines like “The flash of neon light / that split the night” and “People talking without speaking / People hearing without listening” made her think it was about aliens. I told her that the song wasn’t literal, that a lot of the words were kind of symbolic. I told her that to me it was about a disconnect between people, that those lines talked about the superficiality of our society and relationships. Of course, I didn’t say it nearly as succinctly as that when I was fumbling over how to explain all of that to her.

As we crossed the overpass nearing her school we began talking about Don’ McLean’s American Pie and how nearly every line of that song is symbolic. She remembered the song and enjoyed it. She said she was humming it on the playground once. She and I had a conversation about the song a long time ago, but I don’t think she remembered that. I told her about the how “American pie” hearkened to the ideal of a good ol’ America, and how “the day the music died” referred to a plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Richie Valens (she knows La Bamaba), and the Big Bopper.

At this point we were in the car line, waiting to get to the front of school to drop her off. When I mentioned the plane crash, she asked, “Like the one that hit the Pentagon?” We had an aside where we discussed her remembering talking to me about the 9-11 attacks, and that there was a book in her room that told about the day from the perspective of a little girl.

We ended up with me telling Milly that the previous days’ Facebook On This Day told me that she had crawled for the first time eight years ago. I pointed out that she had only been seven months old, which was on the early side for crawling. She said she must have been a smart baby, and I told her that crawling didn’t have much to do with a baby’s intelligence, but that she had been a smart baby and had been better at talking than some of her friends who were a little older. As she was about to get out of the car, she told me that some of those friends still talk funny and she corrects them sometimes. Definitely my daughter.

Then I got a kiss on the cheek, told her I loved her and that I’d see her tomorrow, and she was out of the car, giving Mrs. Boyette a hug then joining the flow of kids getting ready to start their day.

There was nothing earth-shattering or ground-breaking about our morning, but I really enjoy days like this. Sometimes we sing, sometimes we talk about politics, sometimes we talk about history. I used to read a book about the kings and queens of England during breakfast, and sometimes she’d read it to me in the car and we’d discuss what different things mean. Sometimes she’ll read Harry Potter to me. I just really cherish my Monday Morning Milly time.