Monday, August 22, 2011
The sun is dialing its rays back from "intense" to "golden". Autumn is coming, I can feel it in the air. The Nugget has come skipping downstairs fully dressed and ready for his day for the past couple mornings. He is working on buckling his own seatbelt in the car these days too.
Today, he hefted his little backpack on his shoulders, and with a wink, he was in the car. He entered the school building with confidence - pressing the call button and laughing at the "clunk" of the door unlocking instead of covering his ears with dread. He waved to Ms. H at the front desk and twirled to show her his backpack instead of hiding behind my back.
But when we entered the classroom full of boisterous classmates to unload his fresh art supplies into his art box, little octopus arms wound tight around me. Still attached, we went over to the fish tank, where we counted his new class pets, and friends came over to debate with us whether or not there was a fourth fish hiding in the cave. The octo grip slackened, then transferred to Llama. I asked him if he wanted a kiss in his hand like we did last year, but today he preferred one kiss deposited in each of his pockets, then he was off to line up with the children to go outside. He didn't look back.
After I left the school, I started my fall routine. A 2 mile walk on campus, some errands to the store and library, and home again to create something for my boys to eat tonight and upload pictures from my camera. My car felt quiet, and my arms felt empty carrying only what I needed, no wipe-o's for sticky fingers, no headphones for public restrooms, no snacks. The emptiness felt a little traumatic at first, like part of my own body had been severed. Then it felt a little like freedom, as I slipped quickly back into efficiency: workout, errands, housekeeping. It's a little of both, I suppose, and I am thankful that this "letting go" business of parenthood happens gradually.
While walking around campus today, I spied some parents depositing their big boys and girls for their new school year. I wondered if it seemed to them that their teens gamboling and flirting on the manicured quads were just yesterday wide-eyed, octopus-armed preschoolers transferring chunky crayons into their art cubbies.