I’m actually sad that school’s starting.
This is the first time I’m dragging my feet toward the bus stop, and not skipping down the road shouting, “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty I’m free at last!”
I remember last summer and the summer before and the summer before. The days slogged by with early mornings:
“Mama, my butt itches!”
And long afternoons.
“Mama, we’re hungry. Mama, we’re thirsty. Mama, he’s BREATHING too loud. Mama, she’s CHEWING too loud. Mama, the cat’s breath smells like cat food.”
And late evenings.
“One more story, mama!”
“Hug us again, Mama!”
“Kiss us again!”
“Tuck us in!”
“One more glass of water!”
“My butt itches again!”
“Mama, I’m not tired.”
Well, I was tired.
When they’re little, it’s exhausting—it’s physically draining, the early mornings, the late nights, the wakeups, the need to be alert all the freaking time. Your body isn’t yours, you’re being touched ALWAYS, and needed always more.
“Hug mama! Hug!”
Your house smells like crayons and play dough and sweet milk.
And women far older and wiser than you would say, “Blink and you’ll miss it! Enjoy this while you can,” and I’d want to punch them because I was worn out and hugged out and wanted to sit alone sometimes and just feel my own skin, untouched.
And such long days from early wakeups to late bedtimes.
But something shifted this summer—they woke up later, and woke me up even later still.
We did things together like take walks and talk about God.
“The Messiah will come on a Tuesday,” my son said.
“Because on Tuesdays we eat ice cream,” he replied.
“But if we have ice cream on Tuesdays already,” my daughter answered, ” who needs the Messiah? The world is pretty great as it is.”
“Yes, it’s good,” my son said, “but really it’s on us to make it better anyway.”
But then something else shifted this summer.
“Baby, want a hug?” I’d ask.
“No, but you can blow me a kiss if no one’s looking.”
And today happened too fast:
My kids were already dressed by the time I stumbled out of bed.
They packed their own lunches by themselves while I made coffee.
I could hear them talking in the living room:
“You look nice.”
“So do you!”
“Can you pass me the newspaper please?”
WTF: CAN YOU PASS ME THE NEWSPAPER PLEASE?
Who are these little PEOPLE? Who are these little people who are eating, breathing, BEING without me?
Actually, they aren’t so little.
Wasn’t I pushing her in a stroller to her first day of nursery school just last week? Wasn’t I wearing him in a baby bjorn only yesterday?
This is the first year they walked straight into their classrooms and didn’t look back.
This is the first year I cried when they grudgingly kissed me goodbye.
What the fuck just happened?
I guess I blinked.