Tonight as I packed two lunches, I cried. And not a sweet, dainty cry, like you see in the movies, but more of a blubber.... Like you see me do while watching movies, such as Beaches or The Notebook. I'm hoping that getting my tears out tonight will make for a nearly tear-free drop off in the morning, when Thunder starts Kindergarten, and Her Highness moves right along to the 2nd grade.
I'm teary over Thunder's transition for the obvious reasons... Kindergarten is a big step for a Momma and her oldest son. Entrusting Thunder to the new women in his life, for six hours every single day, is going to be quite hard. Through tears, I made several jokes to Bert about things I might need to tell his teacher: "He doesn't really take naps anymore, but if you lay down next to him and gently scratch the palm of his hand, or his back, he may fall asleep... Also, if you see him standing alone in a corner, beat red in the face, please remind him that holding his poo-poo only makes it hurt, so he needs to take a break from playing and run to the potty.... Oh, and if he should fall asleep during nap time-- when he wakes up, he'll promptly ask for a cup of cold chocolate milk, and then he'll want you to hold him for about 10 minutes. After that he should be ready to rock!"
Bert and I laughed at our pretend conversations with Thunder's sweet teacher.
He's going to be just fine, I know. And he's ready. Ready for Kindergarten, ready to make new friends, ready for the break from his over-bearing Mother.... Ready for the world.
I get choked up about sending Her Highness back to school simply because I can't believe she's SEVEN YEARS OLD and now in the SECOND GRADE!!! I have very clear memories of being seven and in the second grade. My birthday party was at the roller skating rink, and I thought I was a hot-shot for being able to squat down when I rounded the corners of the rink, and stick my right leg out straight, while balancing on the other leg, which was bent. At school, my teacher was Mrs. Payne, and I loved sweeping her floor and dusting the erasers out on the giant rock behind her classroom. I loved reading the "Weekly Reader" on Fridays and filling out the quiz on the back. I loved having snack time at the same time my older brother had P.E. with Mrs. Magroo, and waving at him across the playground. I loved bossing my baby sisters around, who were at the time four years old, which meant they were finally old enough to play House. I also loved babying them, and dressing them each morning in clothes I had selected for them to wear myself. Before age seven, I have big memories, such as Christmas time and traumatic times such as my oldest brother breaking his arm, or my little sister having a seizure. But, the day to day memories don't kick in until age seven. That's why Her Highness turning seven and going into the second grade has struck such a cord in my heart.
So, tonight, as I squalled while jotting notes to stick in their lunch boxes, I thought of all the things I would really like to say, but my post-it with the quote "I'm sorry. You must be confusing me with the maid we don't have." couldn't hold.....
Dear Your Highness,
Right before my very eyes you are growing into a fair maiden. And in my opinion, the fairest in all the land. Your enthusiasm for life is contagious. You are a gift to me. I do not tell you enough how proud I am of you, and the wonderful big sister you are to your wild brothers. My patience often runs short with you, which isn't fair, since typically it's those same wild brothers who have used up every last ounce of my patience. For that, I sincerely apologize. You are my Little Momma, and I so appreciate all the love and care you share with this testosterone over-loaded family. You were the perfect first-born for us. A leader in every way.
I love how you start all your "critical" sentences with, "I'm not trying to be mean, but....." And I love even more how most of the constructive criticism you were trying to give wasn't mean at all. For example, you recently said, "Momma, I'm not trying to be mean but... I think this milk might be bad or something." And it was. And I love how your brothers pick up on all your latest lingo and try using it as well. Hearing Lightning say, "Momma, I'm not twyin' to be mean but... your breaf is stinky dis mornin'. It 'mells wike yucky coffee!" makes me laugh. (And then remember to brush my teeth.) I'm so proud to be your Momma. And just when I think I can't love you more, my heart makes room. Tonight, as I was tucking Thunder into bed, you heard me discussing the exciting things about Kindergarten with him, and wanted to come in and say goodnight. I asked if you had any advice you'd like to share, and then my heart melted as the following came out of your precious little mouth, beyond your years...
"Just remember, even if you tell us that you're not nervous, we know you are. And that's OKAY, 'cause everybody is nervous on the first day. You'll do GREAT!" Thunder sweetly whispered, "Thanks, sister." And I choked on the giant lump in my throat, as tears began stinging my eyes.
Memories of you at age three, whispering when I would tuck you in at night, "You are the best of me." Filled my heart and soul. So precious. We think you were trying to say, "You are the best!" but your sweet saying stuck, and has pinned a note with that quote on my heart permanently.
You are the Best. Daughter. Ever. I LOVE YOU!
And you are most definitely, the best of ME.
You've been a Momma's boy from the very start. Thank-you for always forgiving me, when I fall short as a Mother. You are a leader in this house, where the wild things are, and often you find a way of calming The Storm, when even your parents can't. You have been a great example not only to your brothers and friends, but to me and Daddy as well. I love that you're a lover, not a fighter, and always want to see conflict resolution. It tickles me to hear you say, "Well, Lightning, if you'll share a toy with Hail, I'll share my batman with you." Watching you "read" to your younger siblings melts my heart as well. I find it hilarious that Lightning and Hail won't normally sit still while I'm reading, but they will sit still forever if you're the one telling the story.
I love that your imagination could rival that of J.K. Rowling. Your vivid stories of your best bud, Creek, have always kept us entertained. For many weeks I truly believed you, when you said Creek was a boy you had met at the Burger King playground. "I did meet my fwiend Cweek. And hims fwee wike me!" You would say, as you proudly held up three fingers. It wasn't until the stories of Creek grew darker, and his mother died by climbing to the top of a tree and falling out that I realized you were making the whole thing up. Humoring you, we all played along and learned many interesting things about Mr. Creek, who has been a part of our family now, for almost three years. That is, until recently when he moved away, and a part of my heart broke. Daddy was trying to excite you about all the fun to be had in Kindergarten and mentioned, "I wonder if Creek will be in your class." Nonchalantly, you said, "Creek moved away. And I don't ever imagine him at school. Not anymore." A part of my heart ached. Then broke. As if our invisible son had moved off to college, without even saying goodbye. I imagine that someday I'll look back on my memories with you, and feel the same... Suddenly, I will see you as this grown-man, who grew up in the blink of an eye. I'm sure my heart will ache then too. And break a little. But as long as you keep telling me, "I love you to the moon and back!" When I say "I sure do love you." then I'll let you grow up, because I know this world needs more men like YOU.
I am so proud of you. I know God has plans to do great things with you. And like your loving big sister said, "Even if you say you're not nervous, we know you are. And it's OKAY." I love you, buddy boy! Be brave. And ready for a ton of slobbery kisses the second you walk in the door... for the rest of your life. I'm one proud Momma, and just like in the book that I have never once been able to finish without tearing up, "I'll love you forever. I'll like you for always. As long as I'm living, MY baby you'll be."