The easy, fast commute around Nashville is slow again. This is because school is back in session. And while I sit in traffic in the mornings, dreaming of the calm of summer, I can almost smell the new clothes and white paste.
Friends are passing around photos of their children’s first days of this or that. There’s an excitement of adventure in the air.
Next door, our cute little neighbor kid had her first day of Kindergarten. The moment is captured in a photo of her with her new shoes and her Hello Kitty backpack. Our neighbors behind us sent their oldest child off to middle school. And miles away, three of Alli’s friends slept in their dorm rooms for the first time last night.
Her friends are lined up on a runway, it seems. In my mind I have them in order of flight. Who is next? Oh, it’s Chris! He’s Alli’s very best friend, and is like one of our own. I’ve never seen a child like him, who is able to remove the contents of our fridge and come up with a gourmet meal. This is one of my favorite things about him.
It hit me this week that not only am I going to miss my child; I’m going to miss all of her friends and the laughter and noise and joy they bring into our home. As I write this, she and her girl friend, Jean are piled up in her room asleep. They seem to have been attached at the hip these last precious days together. Jean does not leave until about a week after Alli. These next goodbyes will not be easy for them. Or us.
There’s a sad sort of clanking
From the clock in the hall
And the bells in the steeple too.
And up in the nursery an absurd little bird
Is popping up to say cukoo!
Regretfully they tell us
But firmly they compel us
To say goodbye to you.
I hate to go and leave this pretty sight
I bet you are singing along now, right? Am I right? I hope so. See…this is a song about saying goodbye, but it’s joyful. None of that Leaving on a Jet Plane sadness to deal with here!
But, I digress.
The next 5 days that we have left at home with our child are filled to the brim with visits and gatherings and goodbyes (oh, and of course purchasing and packing) and although I don’t know what it will be like to see Alli telling especially her grandparents goodbye, it’s still joyful to see everyone we are going to see these next few days.
Cup half full.
Cup half full.
Come on, you can say it with me. Cup half full.
There. See, this is not all bad.
Uh oh. It’s a flashback! :
It is Alli’s first day of school. She is only 4 years old, but she is so excited and ready. She cannot contain herself. She has her basically empty, too large backpack, her uniform, her lunchbox. In her hand is a shiny red apple for her teacher.
She is buckled safely in her car seat. Larry and I stare straight ahead. We are acting like we are just fine. Trying not to think of how this is a huge change and life will never be the same again. (Sound familiar?) Our silent thoughts are interrupted by a crunch.
Then another crunch.
Yeap. There was sweet little Alli, all clean and ready to go with apple juice running down her little arms and a huge, impish smile on her face. She was eating the teacher’s apple. I gave her a questioning look and she replied, “I got hungry.”
(Right after a full breakfast? Really?)
That’s my girl.
Our next decision was whether or not we should take the core to her teacher?
(We didn’t. )
Meanwhile back at the ranch…The season of change is upon us. Seems we have all been here before with all of the stages of childhood and growth. It’s nothing we can’t handle.
Alli told me this week that she was ready to live somewhere different and make some more friends. She is happy.
And this makes me happy.
I leave and heave a sigh and say goodbye
I’m glad to go I cannot tell a lie
I flit I float
I fleetly flee I fly
She is ready. And maybe with this packing challenge today, I will be too?