So here I sit, in Panera. yogurt and bottled water at my side (oh, bagel and coffee how I miss you, my loves), listening to some LA-types discuss the biz in the next booth over (there is always someone here trying to make a deal, close a deal, bragging about a deal--all just loud enough that you can hear them 2-3 booths over).
Ethan's in preschool. I'm basking in the "summer of Sarah". Except.
It occurred to me last night that it has begun. School. Schedules. Alarm clocks. Drop-offs & pick-ups. We've catapulted out of the world of baby and toddler, and into the world of kid. From now on, Ethan's life will be spent, at least for some portion of the day, away from me. In someone else's care, and with someone else's agenda. This? Makes me a little sweaty.
It's not that I dont' trust that we've picked a great preschool for him. It's not that I think he won't love being with his friends and learning new things and having these new experiences. It's the abstract, intangible "that part of my life is over--my baby's really, really not a baby anymore" type of thing that keeps catching in my throat.
I've spent a lot of the past 24 hours thinking about the days when Ethan was a newborn, and a colicky, pissed-off-at-the-world infant, screaming, wailing, railing against everything around him. I remember thinking, as I bounced him until my back was numb, that this was my life. This was all I'd ever do. Fifty years from now, I'd still be standing at that window, looking out and watching cars and people I didn't know go by, as I bounced, bounced, bounced my red-faced, angry baby. I know I'm not the only one who has felt that--I've talked to lots of moms who also carried around the sense, illogical as it is, that their lives would be comprised of 2-am feedings and that they'd never get to sleep alone, shower or pee with the bathroom door closed, or think about themselves first and foremost for even a few fleeting moments, ever again. But what do you know? Time goes on, and all of those things fade; all the phases end and make way for new ones. My silent mantra "this, too, shall pass", which filled my head while Ethan, wrapped in a swaddle and wailing, cried in my arms, turns out to be true after all.
Yesterday, before picking Ethan up from his first day, I sat in my car in the parking lot and watched him on the playground. He was going up and down the slide, playing in the sand and having a little conversation with one of his friends. As happy and relieved as I was to see him playing and enjoying himself, the moment sat on my chest like a ton of bricks for a second. In only three years he's changed so much, life has changed so much. I can only imagine what the next three years hold for him, and I am so torn between embracing the adventure and wishing time would freeze.
I know I'm not unique in this; I think it is probably the universal plight of mothers to at once dream of an amazing future for her child while at the same time wistfully missing the baby that child was.
But seriously? If I'm like this after his first day of preschool, WHAT am I going to be like when the kid goes to college? Oh, my head just exploded.