i call both of my children "my littlest one", but today my biggest one leaves home

I just sent my oldest to her first day of all-day school.* She was wearing last Thanksgiving’s homesewn dress, scuffed brown oxfords, and brown tights. She had two little buns on the side of her head that her father gave her, her nails were trimmed, her teeth brushed, her ears cleaned. She carried a ladybug backpack my sister Jules bought her; on the backpack was a green button designating her as a “Rider” (as in, is picked up at the end of the school day) which apparently must accompany her daily or I will never find out where she got whisked away to (the teacher made no fewer than four impassioned speeches on the subject yesterday at orientation). She was excited to go and didn’t want to floss her teeth or she’d be late. At this I half-joked, “You’re in a hurry to get away from me!” and she replied, “No mom, I don’t want to get away from you…” in this tone that said, Mom, this isn’t about you.

I had a bet with a friend whether I’d cry on Sophie’s first day of school; I did not. Perhaps I’m just too tired; I was up until well past four AM last night (earnestly I tell you dear reader – I have no idea why. I did not feel particularly anxious or have caffeine too late) and while I still got up and made lunch and sent my girl off with her father I am a bit lagging. But sentimentality at milestones is something that comes and goes with me; it’s not a constant. It occurs to me the reason I held her as much as I could and nursed her for three years and cuddled her and smelled her close as often as I could and took baths with her and greedily listened to her voice and kissed her one million times was that yes, I could take as much time with her as seemed reasonable, but also that she’d get her fill of love and be able to walk out the door to other things. I am not sad she can leave without a backward glance. I am glad – and I know she’ll come back to me.

A full day with my son, the first of many this school year, awaits his emergence from bed. I start fresh coffee and shower, hoping to lie down for a few moments before beginning the workday.

For those who haven’t seen it, Ralph and I posted a wee cooking video on I’m Cooked.com.

* Pictures pending: Ralph left the card reader at work.

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