|My guy on the walk to school|
There are plenty of milestones in our children's young lives. First words, first steps, first tooth lost. As they grow and change they gain new independence and one day you turn around and realise they are suddenly using the toaster and the microwave, and little by little they need you less and less.
It's a bit sad, really, even though it's natural and good and we're just so proud of the wonderful young people they are becoming. But it's also natural to sometimes miss doing those things for them. And sometimes their new independence affects us in other ways too.
Boo recently decided he was going to walk back and forth to school on his own. He's 9 years old. School is around the corner, a block away. He doesn't need to cross any streets. It is perfectly safe. But I still worry. I still hold my breath every afternoon from 3:15 when the bell rings until he walks in the door. For some reason the mornings bother me less. Maybe because I'm still only half awake and nursing my first coffee. He is so proud of himself, and he's gotten peeved at me a couple of times for showing up at the end of the day. Like I don't trust him or something.
But in all honesty, I not only miss the walks with him, I miss the social time with my mom friends and the neighbours. The morning walk to school had become a bit of a ritual for me, saying good morning to the other parents at our school, catching up with ones I know well. And walking home after dropping him off I would say hello and make small talk with the neighbours walking their kids to the Catholic school next to ours, which has a later start. I may not know everyone's name, but I know the faces in our 'hood a whole lot better these days, and that gives a lovely feeling of community, and of support and safety. One day last year, I was at an event and Hubs took a bad fall while walking Boo to school. The neighbours jumped into action, got a cloth and ice, called an ambulance, got Boo to school. It was amazing.
After school, especially in the nice weather, I've always enjoyed hanging out in the playground with my mom and dad friends, and other caregivers, while our kids play. This has been the biggest adjustment, and Boo has conceded that I can pick him up on nice days if I want, so I can play with my friends too. He's a good kid.
So it's been an adjustment all around, but I am proud of him. And my mornings are a lot easier now that I don't have to get myself dressed and at least somewhat presentable for public consumption at 8:30am.