It leaves me in awe how, without fail, each time the seasons are about to change, I think I will catch the day it switches, because I am holding my breath in excitement, but I never do. I will be driving in my car some morning and realize, it already happened.
This happens not only with the drying of leaves and crisping of air, but with the dimples and rolls and soft edges of my babies; with their lisps and nicknames and adorably wrong words for things. They disappear without a fuss or farewell. You suddenly realize this little boy is all angles and bones when you hug him; that he says “bread” now, and “gredd” is gone forever.
My first baby started Kindergarten a few weeks ago. I expected to feel the change suddenly, to be heartbroken or nostalgic. But instead, he looked like such a sweet baby waddling in besides all the big kids, with a backpack half the size of his body. It was comforting and reassuring knowing he was in the sweetest environment I could’ve found for him, and that his best friend was in his class, and that he was still super young at his school.
Then yesterday I took Henry to Will’s old preschool for Henry’s very first day. He was excited about his lunch box – he opened it four times on the way to school and carefully itemized aloud everything it held. He slipped into his chair and didn’t turn around for a goodbye hug. [I have learned by now to look forward to the emotional reuniting after school, and be content with an unceremonious goodbye.]
I was smiling to myself as I walked through the bright hallway to the outside door, when I passed Will’s classroom of last year. I saw the assistant teacher, Miss Sarah, who had been in there last year, and whose witty little jokes had first confused and then delighted my very-literal Will. Then I spied Miss Jennifer, a soft-spoken and gentle soul who had also been Will’s teacher last year. She was bending tenderly down next to a child busy at their table. The room was filled with the usual sunshine – it had TWO walls of windows where all the other classes only had one… and it was such a picturesque scene, and Will had loved it so much, and suddenly the tears were welling up. I hurried out to the car and called my husband and he let me cry to him and only laughed at me a little.
Ms Sarah, Will, and Ms Jennifer at Prek Graduation.
I felt so grateful Will was able to experience that sweet, sunny little preschool, where he learned to serve his peers and take his turn, speak with confidence and listen well, and decide he wants to be a teacher too when he grows up.
I write too often on nostalgia, and the passing of time, and the seasons of our lives. But this is where my mind dwells most.This is how I balance between daydreamy eagerness for the next season, and melancholic reluctance to watch the present one slip through my fingers.