Wednesday, August 10, 2016

As time goes by

I cried this morning at my younger children's school, and it took me by surprise. I walked around, trying to avoid eye contact and keep my hat pulled low. It always stinks to not have a tissue when you need it.

It wasn't Gabriella and Daniel's first day back. They're in third and first grade, but they started last week.

The tears started because as I surveyed their school campus this morning, I missed my oldest daughter's presence there. Analisa started at a large public middle school today, the one her big brother Berto attends.  

It's a school where I can't walk in and stroll around with her as we talk, laugh or sing with our arms linked.

All last year when she was still a sixth grader we did just that in the mornings until the bell rang. My younger kids ran off to play as long as possible with peers, but Analisa eagerly returned to me after putting her backpack away. Sometimes I worried that I should push her to go make more friends or hang out with a close friend instead of remaining close by mom, but I confess, too, that I loved that time together and cherished it, because I knew we wouldn't always have it.

And now we don't.

And it just hit me all of a sudden this morning on her first day at her new school, a school where I drop her off at the gate after giving her a long hug in the car. Standing alone, I looked across the tot lot and basketball courts of the school she attended for seven years, and I saw that time had passed by and taken something precious with it. I tried to control my emotion, blindsided, but I soon realized there was no hope for it, and when an acquaintance asked me how I was, I babbled about Ana's first day of middle school, trying to explain.

I was grateful that Gabriella and Daniel, who normally only want a hug and kiss st the last moment as they prepare to walk into class, found me. Daniel embraced and squeezed me. Gabriella, sensing something, held my hand and walked with me for a bit.

Observation became my companion this morning, too, and I saw the profound gift of familial bonds everywhere. I saw older siblings holding the hands of their younger brothers and sisters, showing them the way and speaking encouragement. I watched parents of kindergartners gently extricate themselves from their little ones after a last kiss goodbye. I understood the tears of the little girl who didn't want to be separated from her older sister for the day after the bell had rung.

My husband Matthew said I would be glad when our kids went back to school, and I assured him my emotions would be mixed. Obviously, there have been some rough days this summer. Those wore me down, definitely, but there were really good days, too, built around fun games, visits with friends and nature excursions.

So...just like a mother who prays for her toddler to go down for a nap, not knowing how desperate she may become if she doesn't, feels while watching her sleeping child's lovely face that the house is suddenly too quiet, so I knew it would be for me when summer break ended.

All good things come to an end. I just didn't realize how much I would miss them.


  1. You made me tear up! Patrick is starting his senior year, PJ is a junior, and Danni will be in her second year of middle school. This year and next are the only thing standing between middle school and her first year of high school. It all goes so fast! But then, someday, hopefully you will get to be there when a grandchild comes into the world, and you will cry again, but with happy tears. I promise you, in spite of how hard it is to watch them grow up, there are so many rewards awaiting you in the future! Love you Hildy! {hugs}

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience, sis. I know what you say is true. I have no doubt I will cry when I hold my grandchildren, and thank God for that joy of holding a tiny human again and watching them grow. Love you!

  2. Aw, I can totally relate! Mine is starting kinder in a week and I can't believe our days of waking up every morning and asking ourselves what we should do and then doing it are almost over. Hang in there mama. Your kids sounds sooooo sweet.

    1. Ah, the first day of kindergarten - that is a big step! I cried for each one, and, pitifully, I always feel a little sad on big birthdays, too. Motherhood ain't for sissies. I hope your little one had a great first couple of weeks in kindergarten!


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