Surfer Dude was student of the day at his elementary school today, an honor that each student gets once during the academic year. They get to bring in their treasures from home and put them in a display case by the front entrance, so all of the other students can ooh and aah and make them feel like the Big Kid on Campus. This morning we carefully took the box full of his special stuff to school and arranged it neatly in the case, Surfer Dude hovering closely to make sure it was all done to his specification. When we were finished, he took one last look, gave me a hug, a kiss and an "I love you mama", and then flew up the stairs to his classroom to start his special day.
It didn't hit me until I was dismantling the display at the end of the day that this was my last go-round with this in elementary school. Surfer Dude is in sixth grade, and with right around four weeks of school left in the year, is already looking at Gumby's junior high with a proprietary eye. I've had at least one kid in elementary school since Sasquatch started in 1997, and it's a really disquieting thought to realize that we are just about at the end of an era. Time flies, all right, and when kids are involved it moves at warp speed. Sasquatch will be a high school senior next year- and the year after if his grades don't improve. How did that happen?
I'm not one of those moms who tearfully laments the baby days and wishes for a house full of toddlers again. With three boys five and under I barely got through the day the first time, and really don't have the inclination to do it again. But you can't escape the fact that my kids are growing up, and even though for the most part I'm okay with this, sometimes it feels more immediate than others.
When they were little my favorite part of the day was when they were bathed and powdered and cozily in their pajamas. There was genuine contentment in those times. Another day survived, fat little well-fed bellies tucked into terrycloth sleepers, a glass of chardonnay with my name on it. Everyone was present and accounted for, healthy and sound. I slept really well in those days, partly because I was chronically sleep deprived, but also because in about three minutes I could make the rounds and make sure all was well with my brood.
I remember the Christmas I was hugely pregnant with Sasquatch and my mom, the FX and I went to Alabama to spend the holiday with my mom's family. At one point my grandmother gazed around her house, looked at her two daughters and three grandchildren, and she sighed this big huge sigh of contentment. "I just love it," she said, "when you're all here and I know you're all safe." I knew jack about the maternal feeling then and thought she was overstating her case, but I get it now. Oh god, do I get it.
The younger boys are gone every other weekend and Sasquatch is rarely seen on any weekend. He comes home to touch base, raid the fridge and change clothes, but that's about it. It's very rare these days for all of us to be home to eat dinner together. Everyone has their own activities and plans, and my house for the most part resembles the airspace above LAX, with people coming and going at all times and in all directions. The nights when everyone is home and accounted for are few and far between, and I love every single one of them. I have a feeling they're going to become even more rare as the years go by.
I've been out of school for years, and yet I still think of Spring as the time of endings and Fall as the time of beginnings. Next Fall will be a doozy around here. And the Fall after that - the college Fall - well, I can't even go there. Not quite yet.
After all, I've still got four weeks of elementary school left.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Posted by the rotten correspondent at 12:02 AM