August 19, 2013

The Last First Day


I probably should be minimizing this, not making it such a big deal. My youngest had his last first day of school today. He humored me this morning when I got out the camera, scolded me when he saw a tear slip down from behind it.

I didn’t follow him to the truck or walk behind it as he took off down the dip in the driveway, turned his truck east onto the asphalt road and out of sight.

Instead I took a bite out of a half-eaten stack of pancakes, poured myself a cup of coffee and perched my elbows on the granite countertop. 

He’s my baby. He came five years after his brother, eight after his sister.

It’s time for another pivot.

Although I am a mom at home, no one would accuse me of being a helicopter parent. I feel twinges of guilt at times, worried that I don’t hover enough, wonder where the balance is between being a momma bear or a momma bird.

I want my babies to fly but I want them to land easy and know they made it there on their own. When they fall, I want them to reach for the hand of God, because I won’t always be here to be the hands that pull them up.

I raised them to fly and that is what they did... are doing... will do.

Sitting on the stool this morning, as the boy walked out the door for his last first day, I cut a string. There are more strings to cut in this first of the lasts that are coming this year.

On Saturday morning, I was running downtown to the farmer’s market, sitting at the stoplight waiting for arrow for the left turn. The signal turned and the truck in front of me lunged forward. I eased up from the gas realizing the truck was being towed through the intersection. 

As they made their way through and over into the lot of the gas station, it struck me that the truck being towed was familiar, as was the four-wheeler in the bed, and the fishing poles with rubber lures reeled up to the eyelets waving at me in the summer air.

It was my son being towed up to the gas pumps. He had seen me trailing behind, saluted as I pulled in at the station and parked. 

I pulled my bankcard from my purse and filled his tank.

We didn’t talk about it a lot. He went to work and I went to the farmer’s market a little perturbed, but not all that surprised. Maybe I was more amused at the serendipitous moment.

On Saturday, I landed my chopper at the opportune moment, swooped in and enabled him just a bit.

No young mother reading this wants to hear it, but the hardest part of mothering begins when your kids begin their journey out of your house and into the world. And it is not because they are teenagers who are driving you crazy. It’s because you love them more than ever. They have grown with you and on you. You love them as big people and they have become amazing friends.

Just like you didn’t know what to do with a baby when you brought it home because you have never parented a child, you don’t know how to send that same child into this world that scares the heck of you. At least it will if you listen to the talk from the heads on television, if you let the shadow of scarcity fall over your life. 

You (and I) want to hover, and know where they are and whom they are with and what they ate for dinner. 

What they want us to know is that they are being who we raised them to be, that we believe they can live a day of their life without having to give us a run down on their every move. They want to be the one to call us and say, “What you doing?” And they will, even though we cut all the strings, and let them fly free into their destinies.

Life jerked me a little this morning. I turned through another of life’s intersections. It was like false labor---a little pain, but nothing like the real thing. 

Are you in the middle of an intersection? Are you  driving through or being towed?

Linking with Jennifer at #TellHisStory and Emily at Imperfect Prose.

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