First smiles. First roll over. First time they sleep through the night. First steps. First foods. Firsts rule a mama’s life. And we obsess over them all. We document, photo, share, brag. We take a small (and sometimes large) measure of ourselves in these firsts and what we’ve accomplished as a parent. These firsts are the manifestations of all the love, tears, hugs and healthy snacks we’ve been forcing on our children since they exited the protection of our wombs.
And then they go to Kindergarten.
My baby, my second, my last confidently stepped on a school bus this morning. It was one small step for a kindergartner, one giant leap for mama. They are both gone. They are now both off living these independent lives that I can’t touch, see and, let’s be honest, control. And I am left here. In my house. Alone. The very thing I have been waiting for and dreading. In equal measure.
Will he get lost on his way to his classroom? Will he drink enough water throughout the day to avoid getting a migraine? Will he be hungry after eating such an early breakfast? Did I pack the right snacks? Will he have time to finish his lunch? Will he like his teacher?
Will he miss me?
The right answer to the last one is no. He’s an independent, confident little boy. And I should be proud of that. And I am. But I still want him to miss me. Like I suddenly miss him.
I know it will get easier. I know tomorrow I will relax into the quiet and the time and the insane list of tasks and work I have. Today? Today will not be easy. Today already has tears and a planned lunch with friends to distract me from the endlessly ticking clock until 3pm when my boys are back and I can find out all the answers to my questions.
We raise them to leave us then wonder how they could do it so easily.
And so I wait. I watch the clock and contemplate how to fill the next seven hours. I know he is in good hands. But I’ll be glad at 3 o’clock when he’s home and back in mine.