First grade starts next week.
First grade for my kind, freckled thinker who is finding his voice, and up at night pondering the merits of inboard motors.
He will be fine. What choice does he have other than to be fine, to navigate his life on his own, at least a little bit, and figure out the way of the world through the small, significant, triumphs and heartbreaks of childhood.
The skinny-legged boy with the too-big backpack (aren’t they all?) will walk into school and I will drive away. And get a coffee. And drive to work. I will not worry.
I am ready for the big moments.
I am ready for first steps, lost teeth, first days. I am ready to watch them glide away without training wheels, to sound out books on their own, to tie their shoes.
My tender heart catches when I least expect it.
When the biggest helps the littlest with his shoes.
When the middle uses a big word I haven’t heard her use before.
When the wobbly toddler gait all of a sudden becomes smooth and coordinated.
We may mark the time with first steps and first days. But it is those tiny changes, the ones we almost don’t see, that add up to people, our people, growing a hair’s width every night. Our little people whose lives slowly and beautifully start to become their own, separate from us. One millimeter, one second at a time.
In the cool dark, the clock ticks and they sing our bedtime songs with lyrics of their own. And then a quiet pause as they drift away into dreams that are theirs alone.