From the mind of mom: Back to school

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 8, 2019

Let them be little.

The four words pop in my brain, raining an icy balm over my frayed nerves as I stand and listen to the principal speak. We’re at my daughter’s kindergarten open house, and I’m trying to hear what the man in front of the small auditorium is saying.

But what I hear (in kindergartner whisper-shout): “Mommy! I found my cafeteria!” “Mommy, can I sit down?” “Mommy! Mommy, mommy, mommy!”

My eyes close, My head falls back in exasperation, and just as I’m about to question just how many times one mother must remind her offspring not to talk to her when she’s listening to another adult speak, I hear it.

Let them be little.

Let them be little, I think before my brain surrenders to an eye roll, a chastising remark. Let them be little, not because it excuses all offenses, but because the lens alters the perspective. Maybe the “mommies” come as a reflection of nerves. Maybe “mommies” show children need grounding, a touch into home base as little bodies remind themselves, “I’m here. Mommy’s here. I’m safe.”

And the words strike me once more, as I look from that busy little soul to my newest, snug and snoozing in the carrier beside me. How quick these years have flown!

How quick, I ask myself, will they continue to fly? Until I’m no longer a necessary presence, until the open houses find me abandoned by my busy middle schooler, my high schooler reuniting with years-long friends?

Will it be tomorrow, like everyone tells me, that I’m standing outside, waving goodbye to a car packed and ready for life where mommy isn’t right there to answer, isn’t able to celebrate the new discoveries?

So my corrective mouth quiets, I replace my words of disdain with a simple shush, a run of my fingers through her thick hair. It’s the same indulgence I’ll offer Friday as that unspoken anxiety once more presses my nerves and I leave her for that first extended exploration of life and learning outside of the home: her first day at school.

Let them be little. They’re only that way for a little while.