I’ve been noticing more about my youngest child lately. I’ve been paying more attention to him, taking mental pictures more often, remembering cute things he does more often.
He just turned six. A few weeks ago he held my hand in the parking lot as he clacked along to soccer in his cleats. He held onto his water bottle and kicked his size 4 soccer ball down the path. My purse was slipping off my shoulder and under my other arm I tried to press sunscreen and another water bottle and bug spray to my body so that they wouldn’t clatter all over the pavement. At the edge of the blacktop he kept holding onto my hand. A bolt of lightening hit me saying, “He might never do this again, he is so close to not needing or not wanting this anymore.” I struggled to keep holding onto him as long as he would let me, even though everything else I had kept falling.
We only have a few weeks of school left, a few weeks where it is just him and me all morning long, just a few weeks before the time I get with him is always and forever shared with his older brother. Next year is first grade, and I have to share him with a whole series of teachers. In the afternoons I’ll have to share him with soccer and chess and whatever else interests him: new friends, books, computer games.
These are the last few times I will take him to the library on a weekday morning, just the two of us. These will be the last weeks of eating lunch together while watching Blue’s Clues or Phineas and Ferb or Curious George.
Today he asked me to dance around the kitchen with him.
Today we put some of his summer clothes on a stuffed giraffe while he got dressed.
Today he rode around the block on a too-small Dusty Crophopper bicycle with training wheels while I followed behind.
Today he asked if I could come into his classroom to see the baby chicks that had hatched.
Today he let me give him a goodbye kiss as I dropped him off at school, even as he asked if he could take the bus next year.
I am going to miss this so much. It won’t be the same again. I know it’ll be okay, but while I had been telling myself over and over how much it was going to be okay, I didn’t realize just how deep my sadness really was.
I have been so lucky to have had this time that I have.
So lucky. Thank you, everyone and everything that has let me have this.