This is a bittersweet summer for me. My last summer with preschoolers. Come August 27th, they will be kindergarteners. Elementary school kids. I’m gonna pack their lunches, kiss them goodbye, and then put my two little angels on a bus with no car seats and no seat belts, and send them off to school. I won’t know anything about their day other than what they tell me, unless I noodge the teachers with early conferences or lurk in bushes and peek in windows. Terrifying.
Somehow my children who currently take over an hour to eat lunch are going to have to eat it much faster (what do they get, 20 minutes?) and without me constantly reminding them to stop playing and put food in their pie holes. Somehow they are going to have to go the whole day without Cheez-its. They can read a little and do arithmetic on their fingers. They can sit and listen and learn. And the social stuff that used to paralyze me with fear has largely resolved itself. But they’re young. August birthdays for a September 1 cut-off. They’ll be the babies. They’re MY babies. They’re excited. I’m considering home schooling. No, not really. I’m not really. But for the first time I understand why anyone would. They’re MINE! I want to keep them here with me, where no mean kids will ever throw pretzels at them or teach them that skipping is only for girls. If my son stops skipping joyfully around the house, I am going to cry.
This summer. Our last summer of innocence. It feels that way. The last summer of my kids being just mine. When something comes out of their mouths, it can usually be traced to me, my husband, their cousin, or their best friends. (Or the Little Einsteins. Or Mario videos on youtube.) We are on the precipice of their friends having more influence than we have. My brain knows that it’s right and natural and an early stage of the evolution that has to happen so that someday they are grown-ups. My brain knows. My heart breaks. Don’t go. Stay with Mommy forever, with your little lisps, almost gone but still flavoring your speech, making bring “fring” and disgusting “exgusting.” Keep saying “aminal.” Stay with Mommy. Give me unselfconscious hugs forever, and smile at me with your growing up faces, child-like but retaining that touch of babyness that makes me want to rub my face on yours. Don’t go. Stay.
I don’t really want them to stay this way. I don’t. Not with my brain anyway. My heart, well, yeah. Maybe. My heart wants to crack open and expand until I can fit them inside it and hold them there, protected from anyone who would ever hurt their feelings to the smallest degree.
And then they spend a day fighting or whining, and I’m ready for kindergarten to start. So ready. That happens too. Life is not a magical love-fest every day. Nope. For sure not. But my heart doesn’t care about that either. It just says, “Mine. Stay mine.”
They won’t. They can’t. And if they did, it would be creepy and wrong. I know. So I put on a smile and act excited about kindergarten. I buy #2 pencils and research bento box style lunch containers. I take them to playdates with kids who will be entering kindergarten with them, and try not to freak out at the maturity of the kid who is 10 months older. Try not to freak out that lots of people in our area hold back their kids with summer birthdays and send them to kindergarten when they’re 6, so there will be kids in their classes who are more than a year older. Just breathe and have faith and try not to freak out.
Try not to freak out.
Try not to freak out.
This summer is ours. For the pool and vacations and lazy days in pajamas. For sleeping over friends’ houses for no reason on a random Tuesday. For too much time on the Wii and sometimes being allowed to get out of bed and watch So You Think You Can Dance or American Ninja Warrior with Mommy and Daddy on the couch when they should be sleeping. For hugs and hugs and endless hugs. Don’t go.
Go. I love you. Go.
I love you.