this one's for all the mommas who are sending their first baby to school this year.
Grey got a letter in the mail yesterday. It had his name neatly printed on the front in green marker and was decorated with stickers. As I flipped it over to open it for him, my heart jumped to see a long, rectangular sticker with smiling cartoon animal faces that announced, "Welcome to Kindergarten."
Grey pulled the three pieces of paper out and I'm proud to report that I made it to the fifth sentence of the letter from his new teacher before my voice audibly wavered.
"You will be learning letters, sounds, reading books (voice shake), playing on computers and iPads, (clears throat), counting to 100, (another voice shake), and so many more fun things!"
I did finish reading the whole letter aloud but it was with red-rimmed eyes and with a voice on the verge of breaking.
I can barely stand myself.
I remember before Greyson was born, having a giddy conversation with Brandon that we were getting new names; Mom and Dad. How thrilling and foreign that seemed to us then - and to think now sometimes Mum is the only name I hear called for me all day (and at a rate of about 12 times a minute sometimes).
And here we are again, getting ready to receive new names once more, this time; Greyson's Mom and Dad. Ugh, even more jarring: Mr. and Mrs. Studer (of which I was recently called at vacation bible school by the sweet high school student who befriended Gemma each day. It happened in front of Gigi and she immediately started cracking up hysterically and then looked at me lovingly and with the faintest expression of nostalgia and said, "I remember how weird that was to get used to").
I'm not sad he's going to school (despite what my watery eyes and flashes of panic will tell you), it's more that I can sense that this era in our life is coming to an end.
Gah, the bubble era.
This phase of motherhood in which all year long, our days and weeks stretch before us like unmarked trails in the woods. Our days are ticked not by times on the clock but by the rumble in our bellies and the next fun thing the kids feel like doing. The years have been tracked by seasons, celebrations, and traditions, we get through the year by happily leaping from one holiday to the next. The years move steadily, but gradually as we count down days until the next big thing.
But now, we are getting ready to make the transition to years marked by two main distinctions: the school year and summer. How much does it speed up a year when divided only by two? I can only imagine how time will be counted in blinks.
Safe in our bubble for the past five years, there has been one entrance and exit in our lives here; people, ideas, tv, movies, words, activities - they all passed our customs check first. We prepared, delivered, answered questions, gave guidance, followed up, checked in, asked questions. If something did sneak by us, the kids felt comfortable, confident, and safe to bring it up with us. The topics on which we have given explanations and answered questions have been hilarious, random, and unnerving. But so far, we have been the main point of contact.
That's not to say that we've tried to limit the world to them (many would probably argue -myself included- we've tried to do the opposite of that), but we have tried to frame the world for them. To provide a foundation for understanding the world; to encourage problem solving, to try again, to respond with empathy first. Outside of our bubble, this is not always the case and I wonder, now on the brink of the bubble pop, did we do enough? Is he prepared for a world that sometimes is not as beautiful and kind as what we try to see everyday? Does he have enough foundation in our morals to stand tall in the face of unfamiliar harshness.
I don't know.
How I hope though.
no, sad is not the right word.
I think the most accurate description might be: preemptively nostalgic
it's the clear marking of time that slices away at my heart; it's always the distinction between now and then that stuns me.
Time passes a little bit each day, but its hard to recognize the transition from when you go, for example, from two kids who communicate to three. Like all those weeks of Violet babbling and watching us has now slowly, gradually turned into her communicating; signing and pointing and trying to convey meaning to us. The change is slow then one day it just is and there wasn't a moment to try to grab at the sand before it slipped by.
But this is one of those clear border lines, and my hands are empty but repeatedly grasping at air and every tiny thing in our day appears tinged in rose.
It's a blessing and a curse to be able to look at the present through the eyes of the future. My mind naturally paints romance around the commonplace because somewhere the recognition is written inside of me that everything is more beautiful, vibrant, and meaningful when you look back on it.
So, in these last few days, of the unrestricted freedom of the bubble era, I'm trying my best to act out of gratitude and joy. Late morning starts, meals outside, spontaneous afternoon activities, feeling undeniably grateful for this time that I was able to be at home with these kids, just us. It was so short of a time, but also so long everyday.
you are both cruel and lovely.
I both hate you and love you.