We lost the baby last Friday. Thank you for your love and your kindness, for your words of empathy and your shared experiences. I can’t say that I am close to peace or even rational thought, but I am determined to keep moving for the little ones I love right here.
And they started school, the three oldest in a rush. I barely had time to kiss my two proud first graders on Tuesday and help them find their seats in their classrooms before I had to leave and drop Quinn at Kindergarten. I forced myself to stop and slow down, pack lunches, write love notes, wrap muffins in foil, not fumble this special day because I am hurting. We took pictures and I stood and smiled on the perimeter of first one classroom and then another, answering the inane questions of civil human interaction.
Yes, we had a great summer, how about you?
The sun beamed at us. The adorable neighborhood elementary school glowed with wholesome, happy, back-to-school goodness. It seeped in a little and warmed my soul, letting me push back my sunglasses and muster a genuine smile.
Garrett, whom I worry is too much like me, reads too much and turns too inward, greeted child after child with a delighted exclamation. Hi Ben! Hi Logan! Who do you have? You’re in my class! My heart did a double take watching him. He is his own little person, with friends I’ve never met, making conversation that I don’t need to direct.
Independent, bossy and brave, my daughter quietly asked me to help her hang her backpack over her chair and hugged me tight before I left. She smiled shyly and reverted to the irritating baby-talk that little girls the world over seem to think is endearing and cute. It roils my blood. Who teaches them this crap so early? Who models simpering and meek for them?
Luckily, in my emotional state, I barely had time to register annoyance, let alone grumble. We reached Quinn’s Kindergarten class late and I was breathless and flustered. Not Quinn, he strode boldly in the door and responded to the teacher’s directions to find his hook and then his chair with a cheery, blaring, “YES, I KNOW THAT.”
There was no reason to stay; he had forgotten me, standing in the doorway with my camera and my kisses. Nate and I were alone, after all the fuss and bustle, blinking on the steps of the school, wondering what to do with our three hours. I wondered. To Nate it was obvious. The three-tiered handicap ramp that adjoined the stairs cried out for a little boy to run on it.
I said no and then thought the better of it. What the hell? Go, Nate, run! I sat down on the top step and let a few tears fall because yesterday it was lazy summer and we were pregnant and due in March. Today it is fall and all of our kids are in school. My last baby is a little boy running down a ramp with wild abandon.
I’ve learned Mr. Frost’s lesson well. Life, it does go on.