Because this story is going all over before we all know that the heck I’m talking about. Myself included.
Today is my birthday.
Today is also the first morning of “full” preschool. Earlier this week was his first day, today is his first day without me. He’s rocking it and having a blast – didn’t even notice I was or wasn’t there. I asked for a kiss, he gave me one and went right back to dumping sand into his tea kettle at his station.
I was expecting to be a wailing mess earlier this week on his “first” day but we stayed there and all the other parents were there and it didn’t seem so bad. I didn’t have to leave him. So I thought today would be great. He’s ready! He’ll have a blast! He can’t wait …
And it was all of those things. I kept it together, not even knowning what was coming and as I’m walking out the door making casual conversation with other parents – they turn to go to their car, me to mine and it’s like I walked into a brick wall of emotional wreckage.
I start sobbing. 25 feet from my car. In the parking lot. One step at a time moving farther away from a “before” and firmly stepping in to an “After”.
I didn’t have flashes of his infant self or take a stroll through memory lane – I just jolted to the present and here we are. A family, growing up.
I was beyond surprised at how hard this hit me. I wasn’t expecting it after how the first day went and how this morning played out, before school. It wasn’t an emotional day.
But then … I did wake up to my entire family sleeping in our bed. Aaron, our daughter, our son and me … all our heads lined up. Our bodies creating a blanket of transferable heat to one another. Connected.
Then we scramble. Aaron to one place, our daughter to another and now our son to yet another corner of this town … and I stay here.
I was going to go to the library, ALONE! And treat myself to some pampering, quiet time but all of a sudden all I wanted was to be surrounded by the familiar sounds and smells of my life. I walk into our backdoor and immediately smell my mom’s perfume, which she just left behind after delivering vegetables to my house before work. I missed her by minutes.
The first thing I thought was how much I loved that smell after I got home from school, my tell-tale proof that I was home, that she was there – waiting for me.
And, I don’t know, this made it better and worse all at the same time. The very thing that comforted me on my voyages as a child was now comforting me on my voyage as a mother … with children who would be experiencing this phenomenon in a few hours.
Me and the smell I create at home, my perfume and the baking. The cleaning. Our unique signature as a home – it goes with us no matter what address we’re in. They walk in to it day after day but today was the first time I realized he’ll walk out of it … and I’ll stay here.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, we’re crying all over again.