He's got em bad this year. Not only is it back to school time, but it's back to a NEW school.
The back to school blues. There's no way around it. The countdown is pounding through his head nonstop, I can see it. 8 days to go. Pull all you can from them. Trying to stop time just seems to make it go faster.
I don't like it either. In fact, I'm finding, the older he gets the less I see him. I can feel already the pull of independence that's unavoidable. That drive that they all have to make life their own. Who am I to get in the way?
One day, he will be leaving this house and striking out on his own. And that day is getting closer and closer.
This step into middle school is just one more step away.
I love watching him stretch his wings and fly, don't get me wrong. But, a part of me misses his toddler hand in mine as we navigated the dangers of the grocery store parking lot. I want to stop strangers as they wander with little ones firmly in hand and say, "Freeze this moment. It's so fleeting."
If I'm doing my job right I will be giving him roots and wings and that's such a bittersweet balance.
When the bus leaves next Tuesday and I close the front door and will be fully alone for a few minutes, I'm sure I'll shed a few mixed tears. Missing him a bit, yes, but also happy for the independence and the happy newness that he'll find at his new school. Worried tears (will he remember his locker combination?) mixed with nostalgia for my own sixth grade year of reading romance novels and discovering Bonnie Bell lip gloss (Lord, help me if he does the same.)
Then I'll wipe my eyes and go celebrate with the girls. Back to school brunch to toast surviving another summer will be most welcome. None of us will admit it, but we don't want to be alone that day.
I'm finding that he needs me in some ways even more than when he was tiny. The needs are stronger, bigger, more emotional than the mere physical needs of babyhood. Sometimes the amount of patience that I must summon forth are so deep that I cry a bit for the effort. They grow bigger and so do their problems. The sting of rude teachers or classmates, the confusion of navigating this complicated age of starting to notice girls, but at the same time not noticing them. And the bumps and curves of the roads of friendships. I sometimes wish I had a script to follow so that my words would come out right and healing.
This is a new chapter and the pages are clean, for now. Twelve years old in just a few days. How did we get this far so fast?