It's back-to-school already.
Back to school after our last luxuriously lazy summer home together before my baby started school and I went back to work.
Back to school - this time for all three of my boys - and I'm a little lost and broken.
We've done this before. We've been doing this for years. My first boy's first day of school was seven full years ago (I was a mess) and we've been doing this first day of school thing every year ever since.
The kids keep getting older, my heart breaks a bit and swells with pride in equal measure as I mourn the loss of my babies and stand in awe at these amazing little people they're becoming, and every year we do it again.
But this year my youngest, my baby, my last little boy is off to start school, off to join his big brothers in the great big world away from home and Mommy.
And I'm a little lost and broken.
How. How. How?
How is my wee sweet baby boy big enough for school already? My last little angel. Wasn't he a newborn only a few moments ago, soft and squishy and helpless with that heavenly brand-new baby smell? Weren't we rocking only the other day in the big easy chair by his bedroom window while he nursed and I stroked his fluffy blonde curls?
Where did all our time go, our quiet mornings snuggled up on the couch and our long walks with the stroller and our afternoons playing at the park? The days that seemed they would drift on forever, reading stories and baking cookies and building block towers and painting and colouring and digging in the sandbox and sometimes just curling up on the couch around each other to watch a show, his thumb popped in his mouth and his chubby little fingers wrapped around mine, his sweaty curls stuck to his forehead and his impossibly long eyelashes blinking drowsily as his dimpled limbs settled into sleep.
Where did all our time go?
Though I suppose I knew I'd feel a few tuggings of the heartstrings, I didn't expect this gut-wrenching sadness. After all, we've done this before. We knew what to expect.
And baby boy, with two older brothers he's been dying to be just like since the day he was born, has been counting down to kindergarten since last spring. Every day. His first words, every morning, all summer long, were "how many days until I start school?" The last week before back-to-school he was literally vibrating with excitement. So we anticipated a smooth transition to school.
He hates it.
He'll get used to it, I know. I'm not worried. It's just too big a change all at once, too long a day away from Mommy with too many new people and new things.
But my baby crying every morning when I drop him off and telling me he doesn't like it every afternoon when I pick him up is not helping with my transition, either, as I wonder where the time has gone.
I feel panicked, sick - did I make the most of that time? Did I do everything I could - everything I should? Was I present enough, attentive enough? Was I teaching enough - and learning enough? Was I listening enough? The time passed so quickly - did I do enough with the time I had?
I feel lost - I've never loved anything as much as being a mom, I've never been as good at anything as I have at being a mom, and I know that being a mom is the most important thing I will ever do; but with each passing year I get closer to the time when my kids will need their mom less.
I feel broken - heartbroken - as I watch my last little baby become a little boy, another sign that all of my babies are growing up.
I'm happy my kids are growing up into such awesome little people and I love sharing this amazing adventure with them. I know there are so many more years of special moments and making memories ahead of us. But it's moments like these - my last little baby boy off to kindergarten - that remind me just how short and precious these years are.
I'm just not ready for my babies to grow up.