Tuesday, August 29, 2006

First Day of School 2006

The first day of school is always such a bittersweet experience for me as a Mom. As it approaches, I can’t wait for it to arrive. I even catch myself counting down the days sometimes during the dog days of summer. Once I return home from dropping the kids off for the first day of school, though, I can’t believe how empty and quiet the house feels. It just doesn’t seem right.

Even the cats don't seem to know what to do. Right now, Arwen is running up and down the stairs making that funny noise cats make that’s between a purr and a meow, and she is looking for a playmate. Aragorn is jumping up on desks and couches knocking things over and looking for trouble. The playmates they are seeking are the same ones they tend to avoid when the kids are home. They both seem a bit aimless. I suppose Arwen, Aragorn, and I have something in common this morning.

As I look around the neighborhood, I see bikes here and there,
scattered along the lawns and sidewalks without riders. The playground sits as a lonely memorial to summer days gone by. The big mud puddle (and bane to most parents' existence) sits smooth as glass with unmoving buckets littering its edges. The cul-de-sac feels empty and desolate, and I find myself all wistful and teary.

As I kissed TT goodbye (CH would definitely not tolerate such a public display of emotion as he enters 5th grade!), I felt like my body began to walk down the stairs toward the van as my hand longed to stretch to keep hold of him. This year, I’m entrusting him to the same teacher CH had for 2nd grade. I love her. I trust her implicitly. She’s one of the greatest teachers at the school. Just the same, every year it's the same thing. I always feel like there are 100 little things I want to make sure the teacher knows, 100 idiosyncratic TTisms that are important for her to fully understand, 1000s of little details that will make a difference in his day and hers.

I long to be a part of the boys' experiences, even though the fullness of their own experiences would be lacking if I were there every moment. I want to watch them as they greet the friends they haven’t seen all summer. I want to see the joy in CH’s eyes as he gets excited about what this year will hold. I want to hold TTs hand as his anxiety brews under the surface and he wonders how hard 2nd grade will be. I know in my heart of hearts that the talk he and I had last night is not over – his fears and worries are still far more than he deserves to bear. I know if I were there, I would be tempted to take away the threats and the concerns and the fears. I would want to attempt to smooth over any rough spots. Doing so would actually get in the way more than it would help. Just the same, knowing this doesn’t preclude the maternal urges to do so.

I suppose what it all comes down to, as tears fall down my cheeks, is yet another step along the way of letting go of my babies. It’s hard to believe these zany, fascinating young men are the same babes I rocked to sleep years ago. Wasn’t it just yesterday we brought home these swaddled miracles from the hospital?! Wasn’t it just last week they took their first steps, said their first words, and gave me sloppy, wonderful baby kisses? Where in the world has the time gone?

My life as a mother is quite a roller coaster. The parts of the ride I talk about most often involve the challenges, the trials, and the confusion. Another part of the ride involves the constant, unending process of watching my precious babies grow and become more and more independent. This part is both the dip in the infrastructure and the uphill ratcheting of the ride promising greater thrills ahead. It’s the part that finds my gut in my throat as I attempt to catch my breath. It’s the part when I wish the ride would just pause for a moment as I attempt to savor every detail, experience and feeling of the wonderful ride of motherhood.

1 comment:

T said...

What a beautiful post. You have such a way with words, my friend. Know Im thinking of you!