It’s been nine long years

IMG_1192Not really. Not really long years. Nine ridiculously short years. Nine years that feels like days. Nine years that passed in the blink of an eye.

Your brother was in his stroller. I clutched my go-mug of coffee with one white-knuckled hand and the stroller with the other. We took pictures of you out in front of the garage with your new backpack. Well. Your dad and Papa took those pictures because I couldn’t. We started walking across the street, and you reached up and took my hand as soon as I put my coffee in its holder.

“I’m scared, Mama,” you said.

“I know,” I told you. “I’m scared too. But I think it’s going to be okay.”

You with your round cheeks and your bright eyes. Your hands were still chubby-knuckled and you wore the sweater I’d knit for you with the Irish wool mum sent back from Kilkenny. I thought about how proud she would be of you. Then I pushed that thought as far away as I could because I’d already been sobbing for weeks about your first day of Kindergarten. Of COURSE all of the other parents were crying (well, some of them, who may have been on their fifth kid, pretty much just drove by and slowed down to let the little urchins out of the  car).

You were the only child I could see on that playground. I heard some of your hockey teammates call out to me, and I suppose I must have waved to them.

Your teacher came to greet us at the gate, and she knelt down and said, “I know you’re scared, and that’s okay. Everyone’s a little scared on their first day.”

Then you hugged me tightly and took your teacher’s hand and you walked onto the playground. I stood for just a moment watching you, and in that moment felt so pleased. Yet letting you go was the hardest thing I’ll ever do. It will always be the hardest thing I’ll ever do.

Somewhere there is a place where all of the little pieces of mothers’ hearts go.




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3 responses to “It’s been nine long years”

  1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Avatar

    Mine was harder: when I put him on the schoolbus, I KNEW it was the wrong place for him – but his father insisted. He was already reading at 6th grade level – and the other kids were about to learn their letters.

    After half a year, even his teacher agreed. I took him out of school with his father’s reluctant permission, and, for the most part, we didn’t look back.

    It hasn’t been all sweetness and light – and my last one is a little slow to get out of college (please, dear Lord, let this be the last semester!) – but I haven’t regretted it.

    Each kid is different. Each family is different. Each teacher, school, is different.

    You do what seems best – change when necessary – and hold on for the ride. Nobody said parenting was going to be easy.

  2. cenobyte Avatar

    We were in the exact same boat – with our eldest reading at a 6th grade level in Kindergarten. We were very fortunate to live 2 blocks from an excellent school that provides accelerated programming for advanced students (and they also encourage advanced students to peer-assist other students in the class). I desperately wanted to homeschool, but wasn’t able to after just buying the house.

    It’s worked out well, thankfully. My eldest is in his first year of high school and my youngest is excited about school. The school is still brilliant and the teachers are bloody amazing. Which is great! My parents and aunties are all teachers, so I have pretty high standards.

  3. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Avatar

    I would have rather had the excellent school – my homeschooling was accidental – due to my illness and disability, not the best way to homeschool. They survived. I loved it (what parts I had the energy for). I think mine are closer than most siblings brought up in age-cohorts instead of families. YMMV

i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

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