It’s always the heaviest rain happens in the minutes during school drop-off, or pick-up. I’m thinking this as rain pours down my back from the tilting off my umbrella, unable to hold it steady while I juggle closing the two others. My 3rd grader and 1st grader are several minutes gone. I don’t even remember if they waved good-bye before being swallowed into the anonymity of hundreds shoes squeaking on the linoleum floors. I walked Elliot to his room the first two days of 1st grade, then he didn’t need me. I walked Zach to his class only on the first day, not because he needed–or wanted–me to, but because those bags of classroom supplies are heavy.
I’m not even thinking about it until I see a red-eyed woman hurry past, and then Oh, It’s the first official day of school for the kinders.
The kind of different that twists just the tiniest bit of guilt. It always be harder, I think, navigating those First Feels, which will largely belong to Zach. I hope that doesn’t make Elliot think I am less attached to him. He’ll get his First, many long years from now. Or not so long.
Once they left the baby/toddler stage, it became harder to see time passing in changes to their faces. I’m with them every day, there is more subtlety in the changes to their appearance now: taller, longer hair, shorter hair, missing teeth, new teeth. Dr. Who wasn’t talking about parenting, but it applies here: It’s a big ball of wibbly wobbly… time-y wimey… stuff.
What I can’t measure in my own kids sneaks in from other sources. From my first nephew starting high school this year; my former boss’s 2-year-old also in high school; a former co-worker’s two-seconds-ago 5-year-old who has somehow skipped all of the years in between to freshman year of college.
The faint, smokey smell of time burning, blown away before it can settle.
I know it will happen in an instant, the moment, that final First, when my last child leaves home. That will be the First time those First Feels will belong to Elliot. Bless his heart, I hope he’s ready for them.