Friday, June 24, 2011

Last Day of School

I'm not proud to admit it but I woke up this morning with tears in my eyes.  In fairness, there were several possible causes -- severe allergies, which i do indeed have and severe sleep deprivation, which I do indeed suffer from! While the pollen count was high and my hours of sleep thus far this week are low, there was another reason for those tears.  Today was Liam's last day of first grade.

I'm not sure why it had such an impact on me but, it did.  When he wandered into our room just before 7:00 with his toothless grin, I recalled the toothless baby he was seemingly yesterday.  As I walked him to the bus, I thought about September, when I will be waving good-bye to a second-grader and kindergartener. How can this be?  Ciara in kindergarten?  But she was just a rosebud of a bitsy baby last week!  I swear!

The school schedule this week has been especially taxing for working moms and today was no exception.  School ended for the day, and the year, at 9:30.  No, that's not a typo.  The duration of today's "school day" was an hour and a half.  So, I figured I would go to work a bit late and pick my little man up.  Make the last day special for him.  Since this was a last-minute decision, I didn't have the chance to put a note in his backpack --  the same backpack that seemed far too large last fall but now seems to suit him perfectly.  

As soon as I got back from the bus stop, I called the school to let them know I'd be there to pick Liam up.  No one answered, which struck me as odd, but I left a message and went on auto-pilot as I got ready for work, got the triplets and Ciara fed and dressed and piled everyone into the minivan for the last day of school pick up.  I was so excited to be there for him.  To see his little face.  To say good-bye and thank you to his teacher.  To scoop him up and tell him how much I loved this little second grader in training.  It didn't work out that way though.

When I got to his school, he wasn't there.  My heart sank and those tears welled up once more.  My precious guy with the toothless grin was on the bus, headed home toward an empty house.  This is not the way it was supposed to be. This is not how I wanted my first grader to remember his last day of school.  I tried so hard to get there, to be there for him, to hustle the rest of the kids out of the house, leaving their cereal bowls half empty.  Just for this moment.  The moment when Liam was supposed to leap into my arms with joy but was instead alone on the bus.

Fortunately, friends and neighbors came to the rescue.  One tried to chase down the bus while another wrangled Ciara and the triplets and yet another welcomed my slightly frightened and extremely confused little guy into her home.  By the time I got there, he was happily playing in the basement, completely unaware of how deeply I was feeling my failing, of how sorry I was to have missed him.  To have left him alone.  In true kid fashion, he ignored my arrival and disputed our departure.  "But Mom, I'm having fun, I want to stay here!"  I was reminded once again that our kids are not nearly as harsh on us as we are on ourselves.  And, they are really good at forgiving and forgetting.  I'm not sure if that's something he learned in first grade but, he seems to have mastered a few life lessons and is definitely ready to move on.  Perhaps not surprisingly, far more ready than I am!

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