Last night I took the boys to the office supply warehouse store to get binders and colored pencils and red pens and notebook paper and stuff. The place was crammed full of kids with crumpled lists, bemused parents, and very busy employees. Even though I bitched and griped about the long line, and had to tell the boys to chill out at least thirty times, I secretly had fun. Even the kids who don’t like school seem to appreciate a fresh and empty notebook and a box of unsharpened pencils. They all had this look as they wandered the store looking for rulers and glue.
I walked the kids over to the school on Sunday afternoon late, the evening before the first day. They wanted to see the lists, see who was in their classes. On the way there was a section of sidewalk with nice crunchy leaves and we all walked over them, celebrating the beginnings of fall. It’s sort of odd to be crunching leaves under your feet when it’s hot and you’re wearing flip flops, but unusual and unpredictable are usually fine by me.
I wasn’t going to cry yesterday. I didn’t in the morning when Lex walked over to the middle school with his best friend, or when Nate wandered off to find his fourth grade classroom without saying goodbye. Not even when Sophie got a little nervous before going into her class and pulled me close and said, Come in with me? I didn’t go in. I just gave her a gentle push and said goodbye. She can show me her desk later on.
Later in the day Willow lined up outside the kindergarten door, the very same one that Sophie did two years ago and Nate two years before that. And one of my favorite moms at the school was nearby, her youngest child a few kids ahead of Willow. She got teary, and then I did, and then the teacher did. The kids were all fine, though. As Willow walked through that door the last almost twelve years of my life walked in with her. And I cried because it wasn’t long enough, and I cried because sometimes it was too long, and I cried because this love that I have for my kids is the biggest thing I can imagine.