Suddenly, my baby was a schoolboy. Sweet little uniform, new school shoes and a hopeful heart went along to the first day with no tears and barely a backward glance at mum. The first two weeks passed happily and with hardly any and ups or down, smoother sailing one couldn’t ask for. Day 10 as i was waiting for him outside his classroom, he ran to me, begging me to let him catch the school bus. Sure I said, and made the arrangements for the next day. I didn’t think much of it until that afternoon as I sat waiting at the end of the road for his bus to arrive. The arrival time came and went and I panicked a little. Rang the school, he had not been left behind that they knew of, and the bus was fine too, must be running a little late, no need to panic.
It was such an uncharacteristic move on my behalf. I’m not a panic merchant in any way. The bus was running late, and a very happy and proud little boy hopped off and into my arms.
It was only after that I realised what it was. This was the first stage of independence. This was the first time he was out in the world basically alone. Sure he had been to day-care, and had a couple of sleepovers with cousins, and now school. But until now I had dropped him off at the classroom into the hands of his teacher, and been there waiting to pick him up. This was him, making his way onto a bus with kids he doesnt really know, and travelling the 35 minutes home alone. This simple rite of passage is really that, marking his entry into solo navigation. Alone on a bus where anything could happen, and I am out of reach. I understand now why some parents give 5 year olds cell phones.
More than that, it is the beginning of his gradual growth away from me. Until now I was the centre of his universe, his repository of all knowledge. The one person who can make him feel loved and safe. From here on out I am only going to be pushed further away to make room for his life. Though I always knew it would happen, now that it so suddenly has, the sadness seeps in. Even though being asked 15 times what zombies do to people causes my patience to wither, I need appreciate that it won’t be long until he won’t ask me anything, he’ll be in his room on a laptop googling stuff.
So he caught the bus to school this morning, his baby brother and I waved him off as he jumped on and didn’t look back. I miss him.