Yesterday my son came home from school and told me he had something for me. We opened up his backpack and he pulled out all the end-of-the-school year shit. Notebooks, papers, precious art work, and a bunch of stuff that really should have been recycled at school, and I said, “Great! Thanks, buddy – I’m glad you brought all this home. We can even recycle some of this for your brother next year.” And he shook his head, and handed me a plain white piece of paper, cut in a heart and folded down the middle – it read:
“Mom, You are the greatest thing that ever happened to me. You are so nice and an amazing mom. I love you.”
And of course I crumpled. He has been in elementary school for literally seven years over these years there have been many class craft projects meant as a gift for parents. I’ve seen some of the beautiful work of my friends’ kids – our boy? The notes he wrote were either nonexistant or literally copied exactly from what the teacher had put on the board, the artwork shoddy at best, and let’s be honest not necessarily anything you’d want to hang on the fridge. So today, even as I write this, my eyes fill with tears and I want to go pull him out of his classroom right now and squeeze him until his eyes bulge out of his head.
Here’s the thing – he’s leaving the 5th grade today and then he’ll never be in elementary school again. And I’m not the super sentimental, cried at kindergarten drop-off, I miss my little baby kind of mom. But this one is harder somehow. Now, all of a sudden we’re leaving his childhood behind and moving into another crazy phase where I once again have no idea what I’m doing (not that I ever did, but it does seem that little kids are more forgiving – or forgetful – than big kids). This phase seems more like I can’t quite fuck it up anymore, because it’s going to stick if I do.
I have never lived with a sixth grade eleven-year-old prepubescent boy before. As in never. I remember the boys from my sixth grade class, very vaguely, and without much sentiment – they could be pretty ok and they could be awful horrible mean and disgusting excuses for humans. Already the hormones have been a doozy around casa de Schneeds and I know it’s just the beginning. Who knows – pull up a chair though, cuz this could get interesting.
So here I stand on the precipice of this new phase, and as with all moments of mom-ing I want to hold time just like it is. Stop it. Keep him at this age. I hate it when people say, “enjoy every moment” because that’s stupid. But maybe notice as many as you can and try to remember, because soon enough the tiny baby who loved you the moooooooost in the world is at the Elitch’s waterpark all day on the first day of summer with his buddies and really all he needs from you is a $20 and a ride.