Yesterday I dropped my boy off for his first day of first grade.
I got out of the car, followed him all the way across the parking lot, down the sidewalk, across the field and too the edge of the playground. All the while snapping picture of nothing but his brave back while my baby soldiered off into the battle field they call elementary school.
Oh this boy.
He doesn’t need me to hold his hand. He doesn’t need my comforting reassurance. He’s got it all on his own.
In fact, on only his second day of preschool he asked if he could walk in alone. What the heck, kid?
Nope, he’s got it. It’s me that needs his hand to hold. Me that needs him always near.
Often my kids feel like my shadow. Always next to me, right there below. Sometimes falling behind, sometimes racing ahead.
But yesterday, I felt like Peter. Trying desperately to reattach my shadow that had suddenly discovered freedom.
Both of my children walked confidently into their schools without me. Independent. Free.
I’m at a loss.
My sad, lonely, actual shadow looking on as my strong, confident, metaphorical shadow walks away.
I stayed until the bell rang, thinking, “Surely he will want to say goodbye. Surely he will look for me one last time…”
But he didn’t. Because he was ready.
So, I walked back to my car, with nothing but my shadow to keep me company. I’m so happy to be the mother of such brave children, but I feel like I don’t know what to do with my arms without their sweet hands to hold.
What a quiet car without their sweet songs. What a still house without their running feet.
Growing up is a beautiful thing. Growing apart is equal parts necessary
as well as tragic.
Fly safe sweet shadows.
“I wasn’t crying about mothers,” he said rather indignantly. “I was crying because I can’t get my shadow to stick on. Besides, I wasn’t crying.”