"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." -Dr. Seuss
I was snuggling my oldest boy tonight--the one who, at the end of school tomorrow, will be a second grader--and, as I smoothed his long, surfer hair across his forehead, I said, "I can't believe you're done with first grade already." Impossible because I remember, like yesterday, trying to sleep in that hospital bed with my long-awaited baby in a plastic bassinet next to me. I couldn't sleep because HORMONES and IV FLUIDS TRYING TO VACATE THE BODY and I FINALLY HAVE A BABY AND HE'S SLEEPING NEXT TO ME AND I WILL NEVER LOVE ANYTHING MORE THAN THAT TEENY LITTLE GUY. (See, I didn't yet know about teeny little guy number two who, obviously, I love equally as much because the mother's heart is amazing that way.)
That day was, inexplicably, almost eight years ago. And I am now nearly halfway to a child who is old enough to drive himself around.
He smiled at me and I said, "You're going to grow armpit hair and get married soon."
"Not soon!" he shouted.
"In a lot of years," he explained to me.
"I know, but those years go really fast if you're the grown up," I answered.
"I'm sad that I won't see my teacher again," he sighed, quietly. His teacher is taking (at least) a one year leave of absence.
"I'm going to miss her, too," I said. His teacher is really amazing and I find it hard to believe that we hit the teaching jackpot so early. I just assume that, from here on out, every year will leave me slightly disappointed. I'm super optimistic that way.
"Not as much as I will..." his voice trailed off. He turned his head into his pillow. I whispered the Dr. Seuss quote into his ear. He stayed that way, face buried, for several moments. When he lifted it, his eyes were wet and his lashes were matted. This boy-becoming-little-man who rarely cries anymore, consumed. And I can see. He's excited for summer. He isn't ready to say goodbye.
I suppose that is where I find myself continually. Excited for new chapters. Unready to move past old ones. This book, I'm reading it too fast. I can't put it down. So rich and full and wonderful. There is such a pleasure in the raising but such sadness in the knowledge that, before I know it, he will be raised.