Yesterday while I was at work, I saw a woman struggling under the weight of two boxes of men’s shoes. She was rail thin, with a gaunt face and chin length hair, the roots of which betrayed the fact that she was not born blonde with three inches of new growth. Her eyes darted around the store looking for something. I walked up and offered her a shopping bag.
“Here you are ma’am,” I said pleasantly. It’s part of my job to make pleasant conversation, so I continued with a pleasant line of questioning. “Those shoes don’t quite look like your style.”
I pointed to the size 12 Nikes and Clark boots now tucked away in her black shopping bag.
“What? Oh, no!” she laughed. “They’re for my son.”
“Ah… last minute back to school shopping, huh?”
“Actually, he’s going away to college. It’s his first year.”
She paused and I studied her for a bit. She had grown suddenly pensive and her watery blue eyes were cast downward.
“Are you ready for him to go?” I asked gingerly, trying to keep my voice light. After all, you never know how mothers are going to react to the idea of their offspring leaving the protection and comfort of the nest.
“Huh? Oh, yes, yes, yes. We’re ready! He’s ready, I’m ready… Everybody’s ready!”
She wounded a bit too enthusiastic, which led me to believe she was not being completely sincere.
“He’s the baby,” she continued. “His sister went away to college last year.”
I asked if he was going somewhere in-state and she informed me that he was going to university in Milledgeville, GA.
“That’s nice that he’ll be so close to home.”
“Yes. And he got the HOPE Scholarship, so that helped us out a lot.”
She was obviously very pleased with her son’s accomplishments, a be-spectacled boy of equal girth to that of his mother’s with a shaggy Justin Bieber haircut, circa 2010.
“You never think when you’re bringing them home in that little car seat that you’ll be sending them off to college so soon,” she murmured.
“Yeah… you’re right.”
I wished the young man luck at school and excused myself. Now it was my turn to be pensive. My thoughts turned to my own son.
You see MOM Squad, Stone started Pre-K today, and although Aya has pointed out to me that Pre-K isn’t “school school,” it’s just “pre-school”, it still marks a pretty significant milestone. Today he joins our public education system in earnest. His attendance and absences will be tracked. He will have incident and praise reports on file that matter. He has essentially flown the nest! Will he ever come back?
A quick glance at my clock tells me that I will pick him up in two hours, and if I had known how quickly the day would go by, maybe I wouldn’t have worked myself into such a frenzy yesterday. Oh, but you should have seen me. I was in quite a state. I chose three outfits for him to wear on his first day to school. I wanted something that said “Hey. Yeah. I’m a cool, casual kinda guy who likes to have fun – but I’m still serious about learning. These ABC’s aint gonna memorize themselves, you know.”
The yellow buttoned down polo and dark denim, complete with boat shoes (little boys in boat shoes mean no harm, after all) won out over the dinosaur and helicopter themed ensembles.
As you my dear, enduring MOM Squaders know, Stone and I have been through the trenches together and have managed to come out without destroying one another. He has been troubling me since Marshall made his deposit into my uterus 4+ years ago. Stone was an inactive baby in the womb, and would only move when he heard the sound of music playing – or drumming in particular. We don’t listen to music much in our house, which is why I would rally the entire family on Sunday mornings to make sure we got to church on time for praise and worship. It was the only thing Stone ever really responded to, and therefore the only way I could tell if my unborn baby was still alive.
That, and his insatiable appetite. If I didn’t eat often and on schedule, he was quick to alert me to his displeasure. He still does.
I’ve told you about the time I thought I was having a miscarriage with him.
I’ve told you about our epic battles.
I’ve told you about his Terrible Two’s and how they started at 18 months and didn’t end until his 4th birthday.
I’ve told you how I CAN’T WAIT for him to start school!
And now I’m telling you I wish I could go back and do it all over again.
Yes, that’s right. You hear me. I wish I could go back and at least recapture every knockdown, drag out, inane moment with my Stone and revisit them. Those days will never occur again. Why, just last night I tried to put him in my lap and cradle him as I had just done a year before. He was going to Pre-K the next morning for goodness’ sake! At least 2 miles away from the safety of our home. I was virtually sending my baby boy off to war! He didn’t seem pleased with my endeavor to capture the moment at all. Still, he humored his poor mother and sat stonily for the picture, scowling into the camera, of course.
I don’t know why I am feeling this way about sending Stone to school. With the girls I was just fine – eager in fact. For them, it marked the first step in launching them into womanhood. Get a good education, become really (really) smart, and defy all the odds. You know: All that Sheryl Sandberg stuff.
But with Stone…
Sigh. I couldn’t even see him off today. I had to send Marshall to drop him off for his class, for fear that I would make a complete mockery of his first test of manhood with my teary eyes and long goodbyes. Marshall taught him to pee standing up and Marshall was going to have to take him away from his mother. If it were left to me, he’d still be seated comfortably on our porcelain pot to urinate and crocheting doylies for fun.
Oh look! We’re 20 minutes closer to pick-up at carpool. Yay!!
Several of you guys sent your kids off to the first day of school or to a new grade this year. How did you cope? Was everyone excited? Do your emotions fluctuate with each new phase/grade that your kids enter, or so they remain about the same? Discuss! Discuss! ↓