Thursday, September 07, 2006

Back To School

As little birds stretch their wings to fly, so must we leave the nest in order to begin our journey.

Yesterday was my eldest son's first day of Preschool. Such a tumult of emotions for me. I was so eager for him to enter the world of knowledge, where each day is fresh with new understanding, and new possibilities. Those early days of school brings back such lovely images for me... The waxy smell of a new box of Crayolas, the cool, squishy pleasantness of fingerpaints, the spurt and bubble of a bottle of Elmer's glue, always resulting in sticky satisfaction... Lessons in color and texture, smell and taste, friendships and fun.

On the way to the school, I played it up, extolling the joys of learning, of discovery, but always in the back of my mind, anxious for that moment when we would say our goodbyes. Would he cling to me and cry? Would he be frightened? Standing at the open door to the world can be a bit daunting. Would he be overwhelmed? By the time we entered the building I was nearly sick to my stomach, and I had to swallow back tears as I helped him find his cubby and place his belongings inside.

"See ya later, Mama." He said to me, and turned away, delighted eyes already scanning the room.

Shocked, I managed to choke out, "Can I get a hug and a kiss?" He complied, but his mind was already on other things. He broke our embrace quickly, and never looked back as I walked out the door.

At home I held my two toddlers a little tighter. In a year, one of them will follow in his brother's footsteps, two years later, the last of my small brood will step over the edge of our then-empty nest and test his wings.

And I just know that in that moment, I'll stand back with pride and watch them soar.

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