Thursday, September 4, 2014
Cal lets me walk him all the way into his classroom on the first day of school. Yesterday, as his teacher introduced herself to him, he extended his hand for her to shake. It was such an adult thing for him to do, unprompted; it made my throat constrict and my chest tighten. Changes, little and big, are constant, but you don’t usually know you’re experiencing the last time of something until it’s already over. One day they don't need your prompting to make a proper introduction; another, you realize you aren’t holding hands anymore when you cross the street. You won’t know in advance the last time your sons will sit on your lap; you’ll just find yourself grieving the loss one day. (I hope that never happens to me.) I suppose if we could remember every last time, we’d be paralyzed by heartache.
In my time alone the past couple of days – the first in months – I’ve had my hands in butter and flour, listening to Jose Gonzalez radio with nobody to ask me to turn it off or put something else on; I’ve worked in the yard, and then, afterward, inhaled the scent of tomato plants clinging to me as I fixed and then ate my lunch, reading my book. I’ve clipped and arranged hydrangeas without help or input.
Cal is wickedly hungry and tired when I pick him up from school; that hasn’t changed. I’ve insisted he eat the remaining contents of his lunchbox before having more than one of the oatcakes I've brought for after-school snacks. He doesn’t want the apple slices or the cheese that were meant to go with the oatcakes, or the leftovers in his lunchbox: he just wants MORE OATCAKES.
I can’t imagine anywhere I’d rather be than here and now.