07 September 2010
Looking Back...We'll Have None of That
They are both gone, today.
Big A, off to the seventh grade; still a breath shorter than I, but I'm checking, each night, for the dawn that I know will soon arrive. I've not decided yet if it is the knowing or not knowing that is the worst for me. I probably never will; neither of them are pleasant.
Big A was up at 6:00; I'd been up, of course; I don't recall sleeping. Her lunch was packed and I sat quietly at my desk, reviewing again her paperwork, waiting for her to call for me for something, anything, some sort of advice or help. She didn't. That means I'm doing it right, you know?
We chatted for a moment and planned our schedules--you have practice at this time, I'll get you from that, then a team meeting...finally she smiled at me, "Mom, you have to wake her up, you know."
I smiled my brightest fake smile as I slapped my hands on my legs and said, "I know! Let's go get her."
I felt as though I was dragging the weight of the world with each step. I thought to myself as each movement came upon me, "left, right, left, right." All these years, this moment coming and still, as I paused before I turned on the light, I was not prepared.
When the light hit Little A's face, she rubbed her sweet eyes and then smiled, a smile that could have lit the room had it been dark. "Today is the day!" I sang to her. "I knows, Ma! I'm goin' ta school." (I swallowed all that was rising within me, including the worry that she might step off the bus and not say, "knows" or "ta" anymore.)
We got dressed and took pictures and saw Big A off on her bus, complete with the humiliation of photographing her steps up the yellow wagon. I told her she'd appreciate it someday and thought of how very old I felt when I said that.
Little A and I made our way back in, ate breakfast, braided hair, snapped some photos and it was Time. I watched her blue eyes widen as we pulled into the school. All of her fingers were crossed as I unbuckled her to get out. "I's so excited Ma! I can't wait!" She squeezed me tight as I begged, again, for the world to stop, for just a moment.
On Big A's first day of kindergarten, I recall walking into the walls to try to get out. She had hugged me and kissed me and then turned and ran into her class--she never looked back. I remember thinking that no matter how my heart broke, that was the way I wanted it to be.
I didn't think Little A's transition would go so well. Big A never cuddled, Little A and I cuddle all the time; our hands are always entwined. She will say, "Ma, Ma, Ma, Ma" and when I finally stop what I'm doing, she'll spell out "L-O-V-E." Big A will grab her stomach and feign nausea each time.
I was worried about her worries; worried about her quirks; dreading this moment with all that I had in me. Little A met her teacher, we hung up her backpack, and then she hugged my legs, looked up at me and said, "I love ya ma, but I gots ta go ta school now." And she turned and ran to her chair.
She never looked back.
And now I'm home; where I can finally actually work from home without constant interruptions, without Dora on the TV, without hundreds of requests to go outside, without her here to "help" me and run my shredder.
And the silence is the loudest sound I've ever heard.
Long live the Queens.