Today I sent my middle child off to kindergarten. I was reminded of the day three years ago when my firstborn stepped onto that bus for the first time, and this little guy cried and cried because he couldn’t join her. How time flies.
I was fully prepared for him to be anxious today, given the crescendo we’ve built in our house leading up to this morning, but he surprised me with his easy nonchalance. His three-year-old sister gleefully woke him up at 6:45AM, giving him a full hour to get ready for the big morning. Oh, boy. He dressed himself in his brand new uniform, brushed his teeth and combed his hair, ate a little breakfast, checked to make sure the snack we’d put in his backpack was still there, and announced that he was ready to go!
He not-so-patiently posed for a few pictures with his sister, trotted off down the street with his backpack, and when that big yellow bus rounded the corner, he was ALL SMILES. He made it easy for me today. I didn’t feel weepy except for the one precious moment when I bent down to kiss the top of his head before he boarded the bus.
We waved to him and he waved back through that little bus window, and I walked back home with our little entourage to get ready for my own work day. It was almost too easy. I was thrilled that he’d done so well, that he felt safe and happy. Truly. But something felt a little bit off.
I got settled in for the morning with my to-do list and my coffee…and that’s when it hit me. I read a blog post someone had shared on Facebook, and the words just undid me. The tears finally came. And you know what? That’s exactly what I needed. I needed to feel it. I needed to put aside the pile of work and let myself get lost in a trip down memory lane thinking back to all the moments that led up to today. I needed to sit for a few minutes imagining the countless milestones yet to come, the moments when being his mother will be the most important job I have. The tears have arrived in waves this morning and I’ve welcomed them as a tangible marker of this milestone.
When I get this little guy off the bus later today, he’ll be all smiles, and so will I. But we’ll each be a little bit wiser, too, because it’s these milestones that change us…for the better.