I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart: I am, I am, I am.
Nineteen years ago, my oldest child went off to kindergarten followed two years later by his younger brother. Four years after that, his youngest brother joined the ranks of student. On the first day of school, they arrived home with backpacks filled with papers for me to peruse and sign, forms to fill out. I hated the big pink ones - where you filled in health info, social security number, who to call and all the other garbage required. Someday, I said, someday, I won't have to fill out these stupid forms.
Someday has arrived. I bypassed the Back to School ads and the watchful eye to identify locker, book, and schedule pick up days for my kids. The familiar angst that summer is over and my days now dictated by defined schedules and childrens events, didn't elapse. Finally, finally, my days of public school over.
Of course, life isn't complete without irony. I no longer have kids in the public school system, but guess who's still there? That would be me. The substitute teacher.
Gave me a very odd feeling to walk those halls of the high school yesterday. I didn't hear the familiar "Hey, Mrs. Anderson" calls. The most heart stopping, I didn't hear "Hey, Mom." Just as his friends that greeted me so warmly have begun new lives at college, so has my Ian. Gave me pause to consider that he is now so far away.
But the boy is doing well. In an effort to grant him his wings, I've only called twice in more than two weeks. Texted twice. Where a little homesickness invaded his world at the beginning, he now says things are going great. Activities joined, classes attended, new friends met. An adventure well on its way.
The family farewell. Ian and I had driven from Austin to Tuscaloosa after flying back from Green Bay. Bob and Jordan drove in from Green Bay. A little rearranging in the midst of schedules gone awry.
I'm not very good with goodbyes, so our last morning whipped by rather quickly. "See you again sometime," is all I mustered before climbing into the car after a quick hug. Shades of the goodbyes my brothers and I shared with my dad, and one my oldest brother, Jon, so eloquently recalled at my dad's service. Thank you, Jon.
I thank everyone for your most kind thoughts, prayers, and comments from the past two posts. I appreciate the Fragrant Liar's contribution to this blog in my absence. It totally fits that she would choose the photo where she looks best. Ahem! That other blond in the photo? That's our friend, Carolyn, of Backyard Pearls fame.
Okay, now that I've sent you to three different places in one paragraph, time for a bit of relaxation. After my week of solitude spent raking the lake, I had a few friends join me. For some odd august reason, clouds and cool breezes replaced the heat and allowed us to not spend our days dodging the sun. Our focus of the day became taking turns replenishing the drink and food trays. Lazy day indeed.