I wrote this about 5 or 6 years ago, so I probably had, plus or minus, a first-grader, third-grader, fifth-grader, a home-schooled eighth grader and a tenth-grader. I'm pretty sure that's the scenario because that would have been my first year having Evan gone all day. That was a milestone for me, and you can sense my emotional state about sending my baby to school all day. In some ways, life was so much simpler then-Jeff wasn't driving yet and the only one in high school. Everyone was still very much orbiting within my gravitational field. Yet, in some ways, my life is easier now-even though there is more emotional turmoil to deal with (I feel much more like a referee than an actual mother some days), and I wonder all the time if I'm doing enough, my time is much more my own. Life is so different from day to day and year to year. I really can't compare one time period to another because all of us are different people than we were 5 years ago. What is so astonishing is how much things can change in just 5 years. Now I have one son who is a wonderful, grown-up, independent adult and another on the cusp. No one is left in Elementary School, which as you can see, I still haven't fully processed (I just know I'm going to show up there and ask Mrs. Kunzel if there's anything I can do for her.) and all of my children can make their own dinner if called upon to do so. The nice thing is that I remember my kids' childhoods as being mostly happy-lots of laughter and playing, lots of songs sung and cookies baked, many movies watched and dozens of dandelions placed carefully in cups of water. Knowing that the past was pretty much okay makes the future a lot less scary. I hope they remember their childhoods the same way.
Night before the first day of School
They will set out again in the morning
Set out from the summer world under my wing
Into the wider world.
Do they have all they need to hold them
For a year until
Can fill them up with
Will the small, nightly doses
When I am tired and and so are they
After homework but before bed?
They will set out tomorrow
But I will go with them,
My words in their ears
And my heart beating each minute with them
If they stop and listen
They will know I'm here
Waiting for the afternoon door to burst open
And another year to begin