It's been a few weeks since this new school year started and it's very evident that something is missing from my life.
Mornings in our house are notoriously chaotic and Ryan's inherent lack of focus and inability to follow instructions don't help. Even though he's had the same schedule for a few years now, he still manages to walk down the stairs without shoes...almost every day. Like TODAY is going to be the day they stop making shoes required at public school. Teeth brushing is a crap shoot. I just hope for the best while I rush to make three lunches and remember who likes which snack foods. "Get your backpack. Do you have your folder? You're forgetting your lunch box. Jesus Ryan!"
But after we'd jingle Bruce's collar for him to come running to the door to escort us to the corner, the door would close behind us and things would settle down. We'd walk down the street, often holding hands (because he still doesn't think he's too cool to hold my hand) and I'd remind him of important things for school that day, discuss the day before or just chit chat. We'd sit on the neighbor's planter with our heads turned left so we could jump up when the bus came, simply talking about the birds or the neighbors or nothing at all. Just me and my first born. No brother, no sister. Just us. The bus would arrive, he'd get on and I'd stand there waving at the whole bus because I could never tell where he sat through the tinted bus windows. I waved anyway because I knew he could see me.
On the last day of school last year I realized it. It wasn't going to be the same again.
Natalie started Kindergarten last month and now there are four of us walking to the corner together. With the addition of the 4th wheel, hand-holding has been replaced by bickering. Quiet talks are now small talk with the new girl who moved in on the corner. Kay. The most annoying kid you've ever encountered at 7:15 in the morning. Kay, who finishes most words with an "A" sound. Like "park" is "parka." Drives me nuts. Yesterday I wanted to reprimand him for cutting his own hair when I noticed it on his collar as I went to kiss him goodbye, but there was Kay, glaring at me. I'm begrudgingly adding my own kid to our special time, but I'm not digging the addition of a neighbor kid. Call me selfish.
Today Natalie was sick so it was just Ryan, Bruce and me again. It was nice. "Just like the old days, isn't it, Ryan? No Natalie...and look, even Kay isn't at the bus stop!" And today, like many previous days, he got on, I blindly waved and the bus pulled away. I started my walk home with a little empty space in my heart, happy to have had one day like it used to be.
Then Kay ran out of her house. "Wait bus!!!" And then she started crying. There were no cars in her driveway and I knew her parents were already at work. "Hold on Kay, let me go get my keys..." So Kay and I had a little quality time-a. Driving her to school is the price I'll gladly pay to have one 'good old day' back.