Today my oldest child started middle school and my youngest started kindergarten. Go ahead and ask me how I’m doing. If you were here in person you wouldn’t have to ask because my red, blotchy eyes say it all.

My middle child, however, is earning Golden Boy status because the only mama drama he has generated lately are tears of relief that his class is filled with his closest buddies. As if that weren’t enough, last night he hugged me and thanked me, unprompted, for a really awesome summer. I mean seriously.

At bedtime my 5-year-old explained how he did NOT want to go to kindergarten in the morning. He wanted to stay home with me and the dog and play Legos all day. Deep breath. I promised that he would have fun. That his teacher practically invented fun.

“Yeah, Ok,” he replied, “But what about the missing you part?”

Then I went to tuck in my almost 12-year-old, who had been holding it together and keeping herself busy all day. I crawled into bed with her, and her voice caught when she spoke. “I’m nervous. It’s a big day, Mom.”

“Yes, it is,” I said.  “It’s a big day, but it’s also just a day. There are lots of things that will be familiar….You have been to school before (you are great at school). You have had new teachers before and you’ve made new friends before. You have eaten in a cafeteria and carpooled and rode a bus and you’ve even spent an entire day last spring at this school. You know you can do this because you’ve done much of it before.”

That seemed to help. And after a few more curtain calls, all three of them were asleep.

And then the house got quiet and my own tears came. Big, fast ones that came bursting from that deep pool reserved for all things maternal.

“It’s too much,” I told Hubs. “I’m not ready for all this change.”

He rubbed my back and said, “It’s a big day, but it’s also just a day.”

“You’ve taken them to school before. You’ve said goodbyes. You’ve walked away. You’ve worked without a swirl of kids around you and you’ll remember how to do it again. You’ve had a quiet house before and you’ll remember how to enjoy it again. You might even remember how to have lunch with friends. You know you can do this because you’ve done much of this before. And…you’ve given them a really awesome summer.”

Yes. Yes. True.

But what about the missing them part?

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Comments

  1. Wow. That is the deal, isn’t it. They are all big days. Oh, to realize this in real time. This is the first year I didn’t tear-up. 8th, 6th and 3rd Grade. I asked our friend Matt R. if this meant I was growing cold. He said, “maybe you are just less surprised by the reality.” I think so. The feeling is still there. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Maybe we aren’t growing cold, but wise? Without fail, I cry on the first day of school and dance on the second.
      Thanks for reading!

  2. But what about the missing them part?

    You cannot imagine how those words resonate, vibrate, bang around HARD inside my head and heart.
    Maybe motherhood is just that. Letting go—and holding on—a little every day.

    Love love love.

    • Thank you, Gisela. Comments like this keep me blogging…because there is something so reassuring and fulfilling to find and share that resonance with others. Hugs to you!

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