As I sit at the computer, it's pretty obvious that I'm alone. There's no bickering, no television on, no one asking me for food or to help open something. There's no laughter or talking, just silence. For the first time in 10 weeks it's quiet. Eerily quiet.
Gunnar started middle school this morning, and I was expecting some nerves and anxiety for him mixed in with some excitement. What I didn't expect was the walk back to my car where my eyes welled up with tears and I quickly searched in my bag for my sunglasses. Why is this happening? I don't cry on the first day of school. Well, only kindergarten first days, not this. I don't cry anymore on the first day of school. But today I did. Today I was sad for the new chapter we started. We closed the chapter where all my kids were together during the day. One place, one time. They were safe. They were together. It was familiar.
I don't know much about Gunnar's day. I will learn. I will find out. But I don't even have an image in my mind of what the first teacher he will see in the morning looks like. The location of his classroom. I don't even know how and where exactly I'm supposed to pick him up at the end of the school day.
This morning I walked with him, at his request, into the building. He was greeted, and I was stopped. I watched, along with another dozen parents, as our kids walked down the hallway, with their backs loaded down with an overflowing backpack of school supplies, their arms full with whatever didn't fit in their backpacks, finding their way to the patio to wait for further instructions. Instructions I won't hear, and I guarantee he won't remember to tell me.
It is a chapter he will remember. No doubt, a chapter that will help mold the person he becomes. But at the same time, I think it's a chapter for me too. This is a chapter in my book, one that I didn't think needed writing. But I was wrong. I am still a mama that is being molded, I am still learning. We will write these chapters side by side in our books, and we will be okay.