This fall, my children will be going into Kindergarten and Grade One, which is to say, I made it! I have launched my little ones into the world; my baby birds are flying from the nest, my little ducklings have learned to swim!
Avian metaphors aside, I feel as though I have passed an enormous exam: I have survived infancy, toddlerhood, and the strangely challenging world of preschoolers; most of my sleep is relatively uninterrupted, my children use the toilet unfailingly, and most disputes can be resolved rationally and without resulting in a shrieking tantrum.
When they were very small, I would walk around the neighbourhood, zombie-like and exhausted, pushing my gigantic double stroller with my huge, stuffed full diaper bag. I would see excited, backpacked little people traipsing off to the community school, and I would look at their mothers with envy. They had it going on, these women; they had conversations with other mothers which were not disjointed and interrupted by the needs of a small child, they could grocery shop by themselves and also independently use the bathroom, their clothes were devoid of spit up.
I envied them.
I looked on certain mothers with scorn, those who sobbed at the thought of their babies growing up and going to school. Babies grow up, I thought, that’s what they DO. Stop living in the past and enjoy your children, I thought. I couldn’t understand how starting school could be poignant in any way.
Summertime in our house is fluid and filled with unscheduled activities. It is noisy and messy, punctuated by trips to the playground and chipping craft paint off of the breakfast nook. Toys are scattered everywhere, all day long; I’m constantly stepping on pieces of Lego or wiping up wet footprints from unauthorized use of the backyard sprinkler or fetching popsicles or slicing fruit.
In September, I will drop the boys off at school and come home to a house that will be clean and quiet.
And the silence will be deafening.