Oh, these two.
They spent nearly every single day together during our summer break. Sometimes one got to go to the store while one stayed with the other parent. Sometimes they got to go to baseball practice without the other one or got to sit with us during the other brother’s game. But mostly, it was all togetherness, all the time.
By the time the school rolls around, they’re ready for a little time apart. A little more time to be themselves in their own spaces doing their own things. They had been doing a lot of going to their rooms without being sent there to read or draw or play alone. I knew they needed a break from the brotherhood, from the constant presence of their best friend. They needed breathing space.
And now they’ve got it.
But from the time they walk in the door, they don’t stop talking to each other. About their day. About their recess fun. About the books they’re reading. About running downstairs in the morning to build something with LEGOs in the playroom. It’s as if the sum total of twelve hours apart in two days time was all that they needed.
In related news, somebody in this house is awfully sad that her boys get on that big yellow thing in the morning again.
Despite the fact that summer-like temperatures are finally rolling into our area, our summer ended today. The boys went back to school, starting first and third grades. First and third grades. First and third grades.
They’re both very excited. We met their teachers and checked out their classrooms last night at back-to-school night. We dropped off their heavy, filled-to-the-brim (reusable) bags of school supplies. I talked with teachers about things I need to talk to teachers about: hearing loss, reading levels, test anxiety, how much I love my kids, omg, how I’m available to volunteer if you give me more than a day’s notice since I work from home, and so on. The boys walked around and read the names of their classmates, finding friends from last year, years prior, teams, and other programs we’ve been involved with over the years. They started to breathe easy; my panic lessened when I put a face to the name of the two women I’d be entrusting my children to for most of the day, five days per week.
This morning brought a surprise, with LittleBrother up first and BigBrother still snoozing until I woke him up around 7:20. The latter might be due to the fact that someone felt too excited to fall asleep last night and got out of bed eleventy billion times to ask us questions, to make statements, to come up with any number of reasons to talk to us about absolutely anything. They rushed through breakfast, rushed through their personal stuff, got dressed quickly, and put their backpacks on by 7:45 this morning.
We didn’t have to leave the house until 8:35.
By the way, both boys acted as if the fact that we drive them to school on the first day of school every year was the stupidest thing ever. So my husband, ever the sport, informed them that we would drive them on the first day of school. Forever. Clear through their senior year. Not having full concepts of time, being only six- and eight-years-old, BigBrother gasped.
“Even in fifth grade?”
“Even in fifth grade.”
We parked in the overflowing parking lot, and walked our two boys toward their beloved school. The Principal stood outside, greeting students as he always does. He hugged my boys and welcomed them back for the year, calling them by name. Again, my heart eased a bit more.
BigBrother gave us a side hug and headed off toward the Big Kid wing while we walked LittleBrother to his classroom. We asked him to lead us to his classroom so we would know he could find it tomorrow when he rides the bus to school. He had no trouble finding the classroom door with the colorful fishes all over the door. He offered a quick hug and hurried in to join his classmates. I waved at his teacher; she waved back.
And then I turned and walked back down the hallway, out the door, and to the car.
I sniffled a little, but didn’t have time to dwell on the sadness I felt in sending my boys away for most of the day for the next 180 school days. My husband and I ran a rather challenging four mile run around the city, and I felt a bit better when we ended up back at our car. But the day wore long, and the silence of the house left me feeling unnerved. No one interrupted my work once. No one burst into my office dressed as Buzz Lightyear or Hobbes or Waldo or Batman or a super hero or even just as a kid asking for a snack. Or even just as a kid who wanted to be near me, in my space, with his mommy.
I sighed a lot today.
Eventually they came home to find presents waiting for them: new books, of course. BigBrother got the newly released Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus, the final book in the Origami Yoda series. His glee could be felt radiating from his smile. LittleBrother got Hardy Boys Secret Files #2: The Missing Mitt. He discovered the first book in the series at the Emerald Isle book store when we stopped during vacation to buy our annual four book from our favorite bookstore ever. He’s been asking for the second book for awhile now, and the first day of school seemed like a good time to receive such a gift.
BigBrother has already finished his book. LittleBrother has two chapters left. I do not know how we ended up raising readers as we have done, but I cannot complain one bit. They were delighted with their gifts and disappeared to read them as soon as they finished their after school snacks. I love them so hard.
Tomorrow they’ll wake again, get ready again, and ride the bus to school. I’ll work at home, take a run, and wonder all day what they’re doing, what they’re learning, if other children are being kind, if they’re being kind, if they’re just plain old okay. And then they’ll come home, tell me about their day, and I’ll breathe a bit easier once again.
And then we’ll rinse repeat for another 178 more school days.