And suddenly…it’s September.
The beginning of a new chapter. One I knew was coming and have been dreading. It’s called “All the Kids in School”. The baby is in first grade now. So crazy.
That first morning we were all in a rush to get the right things in the right places at the right time. We made it out the door with maybe one minute to spare.
Time for the required and unpopular first day of school picture. I lined them up. Focused them in the viewfinder. It got quiet, everyone froze. All the hurry left me as I stared in awe at my little boys. They stood together, tall and wise and ready to move on. Behind them was the the house they had all grown up in. The one they had all been babies in and totally mine. The one that was constantly littered with laundry and laughter and lullabys. I thought of how older people would stop me in the grocery store or at a restaurant when I was wrestling with 3 preschoolers and have the nerve to say “These are the best years of your life, you know.” How I smiled politely but didn’t for a second think they could be serious. It’s because they dont’t remember I would say under my breath.
"Okay guys, smile!" "Sam! Stop making that face." "Let's try again." "Wait, can we get in some shade?" "Much better." "Luke I want to see some teeth."
"We are going to be late now, mom."
"Alright, yes. You better hurry."
They took off across the street with backpacks too big for their bodies, laughing and running to the bus.
If they would have turned around just then they would have seen their mom frozen in the yard, lost deep in thought. I am having flashbacks. I am feeling again the excitement of a first step, smelling a newborn after a bath, hearing the sweet little sentences only a three year old can compose, enjoying the peace of nursing a chubby baby to sleep in the dark, tasting the wet kisses of three little mouths in the morning. And then a bit of brilliance lights up my face. Because at that moment, as the boys turn the corner and are out of sight, I finally get it. I get what those strangers who have raised kids were saying. And it's not because they had forgotten. It’s because they remembered.
If a little family full of busy preschoolers and babies (we got lots of those in the neighborhood) would have walked by just then, I would have laughed at a sudden outburst by their 2 year old and said, totally convinced, “Oh, you are so lucky! These are some of the best years of your life.”