School’s back in session, the sun is shining, and I have time! Time to read, write and play with my 3 dog babes! School started this week and it is the first year that our minions are riding the bus.
Facebook abounds with mothers (and mockers) with tears in their eyes sending off precious bundles that just yesterday were babes. I particularly like this one:
I like it because it pretty accurately depicts how most of us felt and or now feel.
Standing at the bus stop the first morning this year, I got the familiar catch in my throat. It was nothing like that first day, the first year, the oldest kid – I remember feeling pretty nervous, sad, and anxious for him to get home. I just wanted to know that he was okay, that it was a good day. I called to them both, “Have a great day!” with camera positioned and ready to snap a quick ‘getting-on-the-bus’ picture. This is what I got:
There were no tearful last-minute run back and hug mom moments, not even a goodbye! They didn’t even turn back around! And you know what? I was actually pretty glad. I’m glad because I’m so happy they are confidently heading into school and excited for their days. This phase is pretty awesome. Because really, isn’t that what mothering is all about? We work each day to slowly work ourselves out of a job – so they are independent, functional adult human beings who are capable of going after life.
Day 2 of school and we miss the bus.
So much for having my “mom shit” together.
We flip a u-turn and head to the other bus stop and wait. The bus arrives and another dad comes running down the street, flush-faced daughter in tow, backpack swinging wildly as she races to keep up with her dad. I ask the driver to wait for one more. The kids all get on and the dad and I share a knowing smile.
“Nothing like starting your day with an adrenaline rush!”
I agree and laugh. “Almost better than coffee! Here’s to another great school year!” I raise my coffee cup to him and head off back home. I walk the dogs, I pick up the house. I do some doggie school homework. I do some writing. I look at my watch and realize I have about 10 minutes until I need to head down to the bus stop and pick up the kids. I get into what I’m doing. I look back at the clock and realize I’m 5 minutes late.
In the space of 30 seconds, I panic slightly and ask myself rapid-fire: “Do they know how to get home? Will they look for traffic? What if someone grabs them? Will the bus driver not let them off if I’m not standing there? Where will I go to pick them up? Didn’t someone say there are convicted felons registered here? What if they fell asleep on the bus again and the driver forgets it’s their stop and what ifwhatifwhatifwhatif…….”
Breathe. I hastily dash out the door and make it to the end of our block. I see their little heads bobbing as they walk proudly in a single file line on the narrow part of our road that has no side walks. They make it to the corner. They both stop, they look for traffic. The cars wave them across and they make their way to me on the sidewalk. I grin and Hannah swaggers up, chest puffed out, “MOM! WE WALKED HOME BY OURSELVES! I’m SUCH a BIG first grader!”
“Mom, I had us walk single file like you do when there is no sidewalk,” Jake reports, in his usual just-the-facts-ma’am style.
Then they both beg me to stay home the next day so they could walk ALL the way home by themselves. I exhale. I make no mention of the fact that I was late, or having a slight heart attack; that this was all part of my master-mom-plan to give them a little more independence. I take another deep breath.
‘NO!’ I wanted to scream. ‘You were JUST MY BABIES IN DIAPERS yesterday! What are you thinking? Are you crazy? NO you cannot walk 2 blocks by yourself! Someone will call CPS because I’m a neglectful mother!’
But I say none of that. I shut up my helicopter-mom alter ego and simply say, “Perhaps I can just meet you on our corner for now. Then see how it goes.” They think that’s a brilliant plan. While we are eager for growth and responsibility, perhaps just for a bit they can move into independence with baby steps. At least for their mom’s sake.