Today is our last day of school for the 2013-2014 year. We are obviously finishing academically strong by taking a field trip today to see The Lego Movie at the dollar theater. (Ha! Sarcasm.) We are also playing board games until our eyes fall out and getting our hair cut. Because nothing says, “Hello summer!” like chopped off hair.
Today is my son’s last day of elementary school. Sometime in August (when I’ve recovered my sanity and strength) school will start up again and he will officially be a seventh grader. Accordingly, this summer I will be brushing up on biology, pre-algebra, and introductory chemistry in preparation for next year. Just saying that sentence makes me doubt that I will ever be fully sane or strong again. Perhaps, if you’re the praying type, you could pray for me, a homeschooler of junior high age children.
Last night I was looking through old photos and I ran across Will’s first day of kindergarten. I remember that day vividly. He had a Bob the Builder backpack filled with kleenex boxes and dry erase markers and scissors and glue sticks. I had to force him to push his socks down around his ankles, he’d have worn them pulled up to his knees, and I used a spray bottle filled with water to slick down his cowlicks into something presentable.
When the school bus came and he climbed on board, he had to use the railing to hoist himself up the giant steps. At that moment I wanted nothing more than to yank him off those ridiculous stairs because the only thought I had in my head was, “It’s obvious my baby is too little to be doing this!” But I forced myself to stay where I was and smile and wave as the bus pulled away from the curb. Then, once the bus was out of sight, I sobbed uncontrollably and called my mother who knew exactly how I felt, despite my inability to make coherent sentences.
Fast forward almost seven years later. Will is taller than our bookshelves, his cowlicks have almost disappeared, his backpack no longer has Bob the Builder on the front but the Indianapolis Colts instead, he no longer rides a bus to school but is homeschooled, and whenever he wears shorts I only have to remind him to push down his socks half of the time.
Something that hasn’t changed: whenever he leaves for his next adventure without me I always smile and wave as he runs out the door. But inside, my heart breaks a little bit, and nothing feels right until he returns home again.