Holding On and Letting Go
Holding On and Letting Go
What to do when your kids grow-up faster than you…
(want them too)
It’s the kids’ first day of school and our house was running smoothly (I’m lying, it was utter chaos). Despite our best efforts to get ready the night before, it was like an elf had made off with all our shoes, pencils, backpacks, and brains. OK, so there wasn’t a huge effort made on my part and while I’m confessing I must admit that I wasn’t really looking forward to the kids going back. The fact is that I’m not use to flying solo; for the last 12 years I have always had at least one little one at my side. This is the first year that all four of them will be heading off to school leaving me to fend by myself.
Our youngest, Clover, is starting preschool, SeanBlade is in 3rd grade, Sasha is in 5th, and Jallas is in 7th. I watched my kids bicker and avoid their oatmeal breakfast and realized just how much I was going to miss my playmates! I’m going to have to be an adult again doing adult things like getting up at a “decent adult hour” to be an “on time adult”.
Speaking of being on time, surprisingly that morning we were (it’s true we were). Dropping off the three youngest for school was fairly easy as they were excited to see their friends and meet their new teachers. Admittedly the one I was most worried about was my oldest, Jallas. Seven years ago when he started kindergarten he didn’t feel ready at all and the first day was a little traumatic. He cried and clung to me like I was dropping him off at the pound. After half an hour of him being wrapped tightly around my leg the teacher offered to “hug” him around the waist so I could break free and make a run for it. As I fled the scene, I felt like the worst mom in the world. He was my first child and seeing him so upset broke my heart. I wanted to stay the entire day with him but the teachers shooed me away.
~~~(Insert Mama Bear Laser Death Glare here)~~~
As you can imagine, I was hoping that the first day of Junior High would be better but I had no such luck. We weren’t even out of the car before the tears and pleading started: “No! Don’t go!” Both hands had a firm grip on the back of the eager ankles trying to get into the building as quickly as possible. Onlookers gaped at the strange sight of a body being dragged across the parking lot one clomping step at a time. The belt buckle made an awful metal-on-asphalt grinding noise while emitting a shower of sparks with each stride.
Once we made it inside Jallas finally spoke up: “Mom, if you don’t let go of my legs I’m going to step on you.” Another seventh grader standing nearby, pinned at the ankles by her own mom, gave him a knowing look and a supportive half shrug. Clearly her mother wasn’t ready to let go either and I gave her a knowing look, a supportive full shoulder shrug, and mouthed the words “me too”. She returned the gesture and mouthed back “I know”. Reluctantly, we stood up, brushed ourselves off, and regained our composure.
What happened to my little boy? Wasn’t it just yesterday that I carried him in a baby sling and just last week that I weaned him? NO? Are you sure? Did I just creep you out with the visual of nursing a 7th grader? Good, because that is exactly how I felt, CREEPED OUT! I don’t feel old enough to have a 7th grader having just graduated high school 18 months ago… er OK, fine, 18 years ago then! Potato patahto! Time flies when you are having kids. How did this boy/man grow to be the same height and shoe size as me anyway?
Me: “Would now be a good time to tell you that you were adopted?”
Jallas: “No I wasn’t.”
Me: “If you do the math, I couldn’t possibly be old enough to have a 12 year old.”
Jallas: “Yeah sure mom, your 25, I’m adopted, and the Easter Bunny made me breakfast. Can I go now?”
Me: “Yes, go and learn sweetie. Hugs and kisses?”
Jallas: “Gross, go home.”
Me: “Be nice to me or I will make you hold my hand to your first class.”
Jallas: (He saw the tears that threatened to roll out of my eyes. His features softened and he offered me his hand for a fist bump). “I’ll be fine mom; I’d better get to class.”
Me: “I know sweetie.” (We bumped fists. Mine exploded into the air with dramatic motions and sound effects, his remained silent and was quickly but discreetly placed back into his pocket. I turned and walked quickly to the van before anyone could see me cry. If there’s anything I remember about junior high it’s that you don’t cry in junior high!
Back at home again I sat on the couch staring at all the neglected piles and projects left long forgotten due to the arrival of summer. The house was eerily quiet, like the “I just went through a time warp and the Langoliers are coming to get me” sort of quiet. After all, it had been a very lazy summer and based on my 10 pound weight gain I probably deserved it. I’m sure I’ll eventually get used to me time again; heck, I might even be able to control my overactive imagination and be able to walk up a flight of creaky basement stairs with a basket of laundry without the fear that Gollum is lurking behind me.
I felt kind of bad for being such a mopey mope about Jallas’s first day of school so I made him a funny little card that listed some “rules for mom” because kids are only as cool as their parents let them be.
Rules for Mom:
1) When on school premises refrain from showing excessive affection. In other words, remain calm, collected, and be brief.
2) Don’t text your kids “Hey, watcha doing?” during science class. It sets a bad example and they can’t answer you anyway.
3) Notes on a napkin in a lunch box are fine as long as the picture or words do not exceed 3”x3”.
4) Don’t re-enact “fat mom in a little hoodie” using the kids’ outwear. It didn’t end well for Richard’s suit coat in Tommy Boy and it won’t end well for the kids’ clothing either.