I have one amazing kid (well, four really, but this post is about one --- Mr. T). Sometimes I spend so much of my own anxious energy worrying about Pookie that I forget that this boy is my son. I wear my emotions on my sleeve. So. does. he. Yet, so often he tries valiantly to keep it together - and he succeeds - so well that I allow myself to be caught up in other drama and I don't see the one going on right before my eyes.
I remember how he cried when he discovered he and his sister would be separated for First Grade. I hear over and over in my head (now) how all summer we played up the fact that this would be the case, and he ever so faithfully chimed in that there was STILL a chance that they would be together. There wasn't a chance. I knew that. Daddy knew that. But the little man wasn't in the inner circle of that bit of knowledge and he refused to believe the truth. Until it smacked him right between the eyes, and he couldn't hold it together any longer. Hope was gone.
I've been waiting for Pookie to stop eating, to present with flu-like symptoms that really originated from an intense apprehension of going to school with a new teacher, all day, away from the safety net of Mom. The one who pulls her up by her boot straps, gives gigantic bear hugs, carries her when she's tired, insists she eat her 'healthy foods' (read: fruits, vegetables)after she snarfs down three hotdogs. It never came. Even this morning when the bus came, Pookie tossed a casual wave in my direction and climbed aboard like she'd done it every day with no thought of summer fun and unchartered waters behind or ahead of her.
But who is this sprouting young thing turning around and leaping back into my arms for another hug? One more kiss? "On the lips, Mom." In front of scores of other moms and dads and kids on the bus and kids waiting for the bus. Who is this unexpected little bundle of nerves?
It's my boy.
The one who woke before 5:00, in the dark, made his bed, dressed, and climbed down from his bunk. The one who sought and found all the pencils in the house (34 of them), sharpened them, dutifully placed four in his pencil box like his sister, rubberbanded the rest together and placed them carefully pointy tip down into his backpack (in case he needed more than four in school this year). The one who carefully chose a first day of school 'church outfit' complete with polo collar buttoned entirely to the top of his neck so his teacher 'will know I am a gentleman.' The one who accompanied me to the Bread Co. to get breakfast for the family and did. not. stop. talking. the entire. time. Because he was nervous. He was anxious. He was excited. He was T.
I didn't sleep all night. I found myself drawn into the drama of The Olympics until midnight and then I tossed and turned in a fit of unrest for five hours before I finally rolled out of bed and climbed into the dark shower. Then I washed, dried, and folded a load of clothes before my husband's alarm even sounded. I stood at the bus stop with a bundle of nerves in my stomach over their first day. As if it were my first day. And then I caught him in a gigantic bundle of almost 7 year-old love and hugged him, kissed him right on the lips, and sent him off to enjoy "one of the best days of my life, Mom. But I said only one of the best. Because the best days are the days I'm with you, Mom."
That's my boy.
I love you, Buddy.