Little known secret: I never ever cried on first days of pre-school when I had to peel my kid’s arms off my legs and leave them sobbing with tear-streaked faces, reaching for me desperately from the kind arms of their nursery school teacher.
I never looked back.
When the kindergarten bus arrived to scoop my kids up and take them away for a few short hours, I didn’t cry. I was thrilled for a couple of hours of alone time, or almost alone time, even if that time was spent in line at the grocery store, checking my watch constantly to make sure I was back before the bus. I was thrilled for kindergarten; didn’t shed one tear, not for the first kid, not for the last.
By the time the last kid, the Boy, was headed off to school, I was basically popping champagne at the bus stop, ready for a brand new world, or two hours of it, without the mom-mom-moming that had been ringing in my ears for almost a decade.
I got a late start to missing their childhood
It started to hit me at the 8th grade moving up ceremony, that they were growing up and growing away. I got a pit in my stomach and quavery voice despite the eye rolls, foot stomping, slamming doors and hormonal shitstorm forecasting the impending distance.
At my oldest daughter’s 8th grade graduation dance, I sat in the car crying, while the kids lined up on a front porch for picture day. An older mom came by, saw me hiding in the car, and said:
“Oh boy, if you’re feeling this now, you’re gonna be a mess by graduation. You better get your shit together.”
Ninth grade orientation was my kindergarten bus run.
I sat in the back of high school auditorium wearing sunglasses in the dark so friends wouldn’t see the tears streaming down my face. The teachers told us about the perils and pace of the next four years, how it was the beginning of the end. That it would go very fast, and to hold tight so you don’t miss anything.
I hope I didn’t.
Today was one long good-bye as one by one, they left for colleges and grown-up lives full of school, friends, work, sports, and life.
For Thanksgiving break, my couch was full of sleeping kids, the bathroom’s trashed, refrigerator ravaged.
The dogs were happy, the mom and dad content, the little brother grateful to have the focus of attention diverted for a few short days.
When going home is leaving home
All my kids, plus a couple extras, came home for Thanksgiving where the traditions that helped grow them remain, but after laundry and leftovers were bagged and packed, they left in an effort to avoid traffic and in a hurry to resume their busy lives.
After hugs and kisses, then waving and smiling, they backed out of the driveway, yelling out the windows until out of sight, and I walked back into the house alone, not ready to celebrate anything at all.
NaBloPoMo National Blog Posting Month. Thanks for your patience!