Today is the first day of school. This year I send off two fourth graders; neither of which look like the same kid who went off to third grade now that they have broader backs and hairier legs, both of which are really excited to be a part of the "upper classmen" (despite being the youngest grade of that echelon.) I am also sending a happy go lucky first grader who is thrilled to be in the same school, all day, with his "upper classmen" brothers. It's another back to school, not exactly the same yet very similar to all of the other first days I have had for the past 8 years since Chase and Ryder began as little pre-schoolers in the 2's program. I sent them off like it was no big deal, not even aware of where their classrooms were physically located, not even sure of their classroom numbers. Yet, none of them cared. They didn't even ask. Big men on campus can find their own way.
So, I am making like it is no big deal, and yet, inside of me, my heartstrings are getting tugged. I wish all of that tugging was an effective abs exercise. It's not! It should be a momentous day. I should be, like all the other moms, writing fancy signs on chalk boards and engraving Turner's first day of first grade permanently into facebook memories. No signs or to do necessary it is permanently tattooed in my memory, for sure. Really, what I should be doing is tying my kids to the very tree we took pictures in front of and not letting them go. Not ever. Because I have a baby in first grade and that just seems wrong. And, way too fast. And, because, I have 9 year olds who are sprouting into their tween years without looking back, practically without a wave goodbye. And, because I look at Decker and see his mostly toothless grin and his drool, and know that before too long he will be on that bus, his brothers "catching rides" to high school with their buddies, and I will have wished I did tie them to the tree.
Believe me. They needed to go to school. The hours between Friday and today seemed nearly endless as the boys bickered over everything. Anything. "My half of bagel is smaller than your half of bagel." "NO, I got the shorter haircut. It is SO shorter than yours." "I am not taking the first shower, you go first," to name a few. But, there were more. So. Many. More. And, each time, the bickering got louder and echoed more in my ears, I wished a bit harder for Monday to get here.
But, here it is. And, off they went. As they do. With little thought beyond seeing their friends again, and who will they sit next to in this new class. On to the bus their biggest gripe was that Turner still has two recesses while the twins, upper classmen that they are, only have one. Off they went. And, I held my baby and watched them go, grateful they would be apart from each other for the day and sad, so sad, they would be taking another step forward, further away from their childhood. And, from me.
I'd never hold them back. I am raising them to do exactly as their doing. And, yet, I look at them go. I feel the tug on the heartstrings (still no work on the abs), I look at the tree, and I do sort of wish I had some rope.