No Time for Sentimentality

When Miles went to kindergarten four years ago, I cried. My oldest baby, my first to leave me and go off to be educated by someone other than a parent, was leaving the nest. I thought about how I wouldn’t be there if he got scared or if another child was unkind, and it kept me up late at night. I worried about whether he’d miss me or not, but hoped it wouldn’t be too much if he did. When Isla went off to school, I overbought adorable fall clothing and wondered if her tender heart would be overwhelmed with all the other kids in her class. Even Grant, my third, was the focus of my maternal concern before he stepped on the bus for the first time, my only kindergartener to not be driven to and from school. I carried him into bed with us after he fell asleep one night before school started, almost like the mom in I Love You Forever, because I wanted him to be my baby for just a little longer.

This year the only first is that Grant will be in school all day long, instead of half day like last year. All three older kids are still at the same school, riding the same bus. Grant has Isla’s old teacher, and Isla has Miles’ old teacher. Besides new shoes, we didn’t need to buy much – Isla and Miles still fit into almost all of their clothes from last year, and Grant gets hand-me-downs. Only Isla needed school supplies, because the boys’ teachers requested checks for communal supplies, instead.

So this year, the first day of school arrived almost out of nowhere. I wasn’t worried, the kids weren’t worried, we were prepared. We located the backpacks and the lunch boxes, cut the tags off the new gym shoes. Woke the kids up at 7 this morning and had unhurried breakfasts. Miles and Grant had selected matching first day of school shirts, and Isla wore a boldly-colored dress that will probably never enter the school building again because she’s not, most days, a fan of dresses.

“This is going so well,” I thought. I had no tinges of sadness, because I knew the kids looked forward to school, though I did wish summer vacation could have lasted a month or two longer.

The kids and their backpacks were ready 10 minutes before the bus arrival time printed on the cards they’d been instructed to carry with them the first two weeks of school. I grabbed my camera and we headed out the door to take a photo on the porch, and give good-bye and good luck hugs.

But the bus had already arrived. Early by a good eight minutes, it waited at the end of the street. Isla panicked; the boys began to run. “Wait for me!” I called, but the boy either didn’t hear me or didn’t want to wait. They stepped confidently onto the bus without a look back to me or Zachary or Jonah as we trailed behind. Isla gave a little wave and then, she, too, was gone.

My smooth, tear-free morning wavered in front of me as the bus pulled away. No kisses to their cheeks, no whispered words of encouragement, no bright-eyed first day of school photo. They were gone. I blinked back tears and walked to the house.

Now they are off, discovered the newness of their classes and breathing in the scent of freshly sharpened pencils. Jonah is going to daycare this afternoon.

The kids are fine, I’m fine, we had our little non-event this morning and just like that, summer is gone.

A post for Just Write, a weekly free-writing exercise, which is about all I have time for these days.

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Comments

  1. OH yes. Just like that summer is gone.
    Beautiful post.

    There is no anchor for the seasons of life. God grow me up as they grow up!!!
    Emily
    http://www.weakandloved.com

  2. You had a “rip the band-aid off” kind of moment when you raced to the bus this morning. No time to ponder or enjoy the moment at all. You need some closure, so I think you should wear a pair of flip-flops and eat a popsicle and then say goodbye to summer. Maybe eat two popsicles.

  3. I get the same feeling when my kids turn their backs on me and head off to school. Worse, I get a pang of pain realizing that someday, they will really be on their own and mom will stand by to just watch…hmm

  4. Oh this hurt a little to read. I felt like I was right there with you.
    I hope they had a good day at school and that you did finally get your first day photo.

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