Yesterday the iconic yellow school bus stopped outside our house, gathering up students in backpacks and new shoes. Trembling, eager, smiling, worried, both mothers and children couldn’t decide just how to feel about the start of a new school year.
But me? I couldn’t stop remembering. My children are all grown now, no new school books or yellow pencils clutter my counter. Somehow I thought this day would never come.
But just so you know I really was that mama, here are the words from my journal from long ago….
Today my little boy went off to school.
He was afraid. I was afraid.
He was excited. So was I.
He was brave. I cried.
We chattered cheerfully in the van on the way to school. He looked so fresh and grown-up in his new haircut, plaid shirt tucked neatly in, appropriately cool baggy pants and black suede tennis shoes. I took pictures in front of the flagpole.
Walking into the classroom, he gripped my hand in sweaty palm and sat oh-so-quietly at his pint-sized desk.
“Don’t leave yet Mom. Wait ‘til all the other parents go…”
I rubbed his back and labeled his supplies. Crayons, scissors, lots of glue, a binder covered in G. I. Joe stickers. I took a picture of my little boy at his desk.
Time for Mom to leave. One last squeeze of his shoulder. One last kiss on his cheek, and out the door.
That’s when the tears betrayed me. Unbidden, they pushed against my eyes, threatening to embarrass me completely. Gulping them back, I waved with false cheer at a neighbor and drove in my empty van to my empty house.
No chaos, no arguments, no laughter, no messes.
I have looked forward to this day. I have plans. For years I have said, “When my children all go to school…”
Yet today I can do nothing.I grieve an end of an era. An era I have loved, filled with memories I cherish.
I did my share of complaining to be sure. “Can’t I even go to the bathroom alone?!” But I loved the unrushed mornings cuddling with blankie and bear and my squirmy little boy.
I loved the Lego creations and the storybooks and Wee Sing tapes. I loved sidewalk chalk and popsicles dribbling down dimpled chins. Rainy days spent building forts in the family room with blankets anchored with encyclopedias.
Most of all, I have loved the absolute trust in his eyes. He knows I am here for him to protect him, to be proud, to understand.
For I am Mom. Matthew’s mom. The Best-Mom-in-the-Whole-World.
That is who I was yesterday when I held him as a babe in my arms. It is who I am today as I leave him at his desk at school. And tomorrow, when he is a man, I will still be…
From my heart,