Today is the last day of third grade. These guys are fourth graders now! And they are celebrating with swimming, water gun fights, and a birthday at Krapfenwald Bad on a hilltop in the Vienna Woods. Party! Ooh, but we forgot the sunscreen…
The last day of Third Grade. What does that mean? Usually it’s easy to take my mind off of these melancholy things but today it isn’t working. Is this the last time that I’ll be walking them to the bus stop? When will they start not wanting me to be there waving good-bye? I’m overwhelmed with feeling like a Mom. I need to think about these details. I’m afraid that if I don’t think about you, I’ll lose you.
“I need to drink some milk, so my bones will grow.”
No, I want to say, don’t grow. Leave those bones the same size! Small enough to still fit on my lap when you’re tired. Small enough so that when Daddy is away, the three of us all still fit in one bed.
“I can tell when you’re thinking, Mom, because your face looks different.”
Now that they’re older, they get credit for just being Jake and Eli instead of whatever it is Mike and I think we’re creating. Jake loves Stratego and Monopoly, and he’s always eager to wake up early and walk with me to the bakery on Saturday morning for coffee and croissants. He watches the Marines training outside our windows, and keeps asking when he can be a Marine too? Can he go and join the training?
Eli still needs time to play, with trucks, legos, Gus Gus; anything that lets his mind be free and isn’t constrained by rules or expectations. He’s always talking to me, telling me what he’s thinking, and calls me from the bus stop as soon as he gets out of school. I hear truck sounds from the kitchen while he plays on the floor with his fleet of tour buses. “I like how my violin says ‘Hi’ when I open up the case.” “Mom, come! I can see the big dipper!” “I can send cameras outside of my brain to take pictures of things. But they don’t work very well out of my feet.” “Mommy is soft and flabby like a waterbed!”
What did I do to deserve this little person that loves me so much?
Since the election, Jake and Eli have been interested in politics and presidents. Jake did a special project at school where he filmed all of his classmates as the 45 presidents. He’s currently memorizing them, one chunk at a time, and loves the challenge of being asked to recite long lists of things.
Eli picks up on other political details. When the NPR newscast reported Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia and mentioned he was the only guest served a special meal of steak with ketchup, his analysis was, “So Trump got a kid’s meal?”
My precious babies.
The worst possible outcome would be if I forget the details. And as much as I want to fight it by taking pictures and writing things down, the evidence is quite strong that forgetting the details is inevitable. These are the details with consequences. I don’t want to forget them!
Playing catch at Lichtenstein park, Super Mario tournaments, Harry Potter, stringing a bell over their bunk beds to “wake them up” in the morning; blondies and sleepovers and riding scooters down to get ice cream with our friends.
During this year of third grade, Eli Climbed the Mountain with Ms. Miolee,
And Jake found a lifelong mentor in Mr. Golden.
It isn’t an ending, just a new beginning. You can change the way you move through time, but you can’t save it and you can’t make more. So we will move through time this summer with family, friends, watermelon, Nutella sandwiches, water parks and nerf gun wars in the living room.
And enjoy the details instead of worrying about forgetting them.