Today’s the day — the first day of school.
It was frenetic this morning. The kids woke up early. They radiated an extra energy that comes only from first-day jitters and the anticipation of seeing all their friends again. The twins only checked the clock 14,000 times this morning, making sure that they weren’t going to miss the bus. They packed and repacked their supplies and changed their minds roughly 10 times about what they wanted for lunch.
And that was before 7 a.m.
Everyone was twitchy and excited and hyper and nervous, including me. The kids remind me of those model balsam airplanes that fly by winding up a rubber band: all August long, they’ve been cranking up their invisible energy-bands and today, zing! They are released.
And now… nothing.
It’s like all the life has been vacuumed out of the house. It’s quiet here — the kind of quiet I used to long for back when I raced my oldest child to school with two squalling babies clipped into their infant car seats. At that time, I used to call my mother to wonder aloud about the possibility of ever hearing myself think again; she used to say, “Just wait. You’ll find that you will miss it all.”
I thought she was only saying that to make me feel better, but now… I get it. Sure, for the first 30 minutes it was glorious. I can finally go through all the piles of stuff and get some work done without the 80 interruptions a minute. But I miss that sound of kids tromping through the house, banging the front door as they run out, playing with Legos, and even, God help me, the low-level squabbling over the most mundane thing.
Because it’s eerie quiet once again.
This year, more than any other year in the past, I find myself not quite ready to let go. Our oldest is starting high school, and with each passing day, I realize that he’s growing up and away from us. He’s been busy all summer, over at the high school more than at home. With the start of his freshman year, it hit me that we only have three more of these first-days-of-school left with him before he starts college. Three more. I’m not sure I’m ready for that.
I’m not the only one who is taken aback by the sudden quiet.
Louie’s lost, you know. He’s had his kids to play with, run after and hang out with all summer long, and now they’re gone. I think we both need a long walk and a little treat as we adjust to the new normal again.
When’s the first day of school near you?