Well, I did it. I have turned the page from summer freedom to school year schedules. As the kids prepared to leave for school, I will admit there was some whining about having to get up so early. And, yes, there was some begging to stretch out summertime “just one more day.” Oh, sure, there was even some pouting with a few “this is so unfair!” comments thrown in here and there.
The kids, though, were much better behaved than I was. I think they knew someone had to be mature about summer ending. I admit it. I am one of those moms who really does enjoy having her kids home with her. I love the summertime when we are together and free to go and do things on a whim. We can take trips on a moment's (or day’s) notice.
Though now that school has begun, I found a secret gift hidden in the chaos. This year with three kids in three different schools, I have a unique chance to spend a few moments alone with each child before I drop them off for the day.
My daughter was eager to get back into school and see her friends. She chattered excitedly as we drove to the school. She eagerly grasped my hand and nearly dragged me down the halls, not slowing to allow Mom the time to greet the principal. When we reached her classroom, she happily went to her desk to begin her day, never protesting the pictures I took or that “one last hug” I wanted. When did my baby become so old?
My middle son was nervous yet confident that he would have a good year. He joked a little bit with me on the drive to school. He asked me a few questions about his schedule and if I would be home if he needed anything. He was nervous and excited. Yet I could feel that he wasn’t factoring me – his mom – into the equation when it came to whether or not he would have a good day. I was just “Mom” and not the hero that would swoop in if things got tough. I was so proud when I dropped him off. Though, admittedly, there was a tug on my heart watching him walk into the school without ever looking back. When did my baby become so old?
My oldest son hit high school this year. A freshman in high school! The tension was so thick on the way to school. Both of us were nervous and still excited for this new world that was about to open up. I knew how much growing up happens in your high school years. He had no idea what to expect. We didn’t speak much. We were both lost in our own thoughts. Both a little bit too nervous to handle a real conversation. I asked him a few questions about where and when to pick him up before we fell into a shared, tense silence. I watched him walk into the school and my stomach tightened. Over six feet tall and most definitely a teenager, I couldn’t help but watch him and still see my little five-year-old kindergarten boy of yesteryear walk into that high school. When did my baby become so old?
I managed to get a block away before the tears started to flow. High school? Middle school? Elementary school? Where did the time go? How is it slipping by so fast? Am I doing enough to let them know how much I love them? Have I given them enough tools to be successful when I am not there to help them? They are growing up so fast, and here I am feeling as if I am running on ice. They are moving further away as I reach out to keep them close.
I glanced into the rear view mirror at my tear-streaked face. When did this mom become so old?