On the eve of my baby’s last official day as a baby, I find myself incredibly pensive and anxious about what the future holds. Tonight is his last night as “the baby” and he will be venturing off to Kindergarten in the morning. I find myself with a lump in my throat for purely selfish reasons. For the first time in 11 years I am going to be all alone. My oldest is heading off to middle school; my middle child is growing up fast too as she heads into third grade; and the little guy that has kept me company for the past 3 years has become a boy.
For the first time in my life, I don’t know where I am going. I only know that I am going to be alone while the children go off to school to learn not only the subjects their teachers will lecture them on, but more about themselves. I have had ample time to prepare for this moment and have often thought of it, but now that I am here it is oh so bittersweet. I won’t have my little friend by my side to go with me to the grocery store; and I won’t have to worry about coming home because that’s where he wants to be; I won’t hear him cracking jokes or his little laugh during the day; I won’t hear him asking me to play Legos or bake “shape” cookies. After tonight, I will close yet another chapter on my life…the life of a mother with young children at home. I know they will still be here and that they are only going to be gone for part of the day, but it doesn’t make me feel any younger and it doesn’t make the time that passes as they grow go any slower. Each day they accomplish something new I see a part of me slipping away though it doesn’t rob me of any of the joy that I share in witnessing their achievements.
Tomorrow I will rise early, put on my game face, prepare a good breakfast for the kids and wait and watch to see if my baby will have enough courage to ride the school bus for the very first time. Should he decide to take that big step and get on the bus I will lovingly support his bravery and wave goodbye enthusiastically as the bus shuttles him off to school. If he decides his first day of school isn’t the day to be brave, inside I will silently revel in the fact that he still needs me and I will gladly take him to school.
Ultimately, in either case, there will be tears. Tears of joy, tears of sadness, anxiousness, loneliness, and fear of the unknown. But as I close this chapter, I will look forward with my head held high, to the next wondering when I turn the page what God, the author of this novel, has in store for me.