Each morning as the bus pulls away, his little face is all smiles out that window. . . and I think. . .
I feel. . .
just how small he is, moving away. . .
moving into. . . the world on that yellow bus. Growing and becoming.
And without him know. . . realizing. . . he is unfurling those wings. . . growing stronger. . . and independent. . . and beautiful.
Then that same sweet smile returns in the afternoon. Bouncing off the bus. Happy. As if time stood still, and he never left at all.
He returned yesterday, backpack so heavy for such a little boy (although he would insist he's not little).
Homework? I ask.
I don't have any homework. He insists. And inwardly I groan at the struggles we had last year during homework time. He insisting that he knows. Wanting so much to be independent, and know. And my not knowing how to balance this sense of independence and still guide him in the right direction.
How do you know? Parenting is such a feeling around in the dark. Hand blind, frantically searching the wall for the switch. The one that will illuminate this unfamiliar room that seems to change shape. . . dimension. . .layout. . . daily.
No homework? I ask.
Nope. He insists.
What's this? I ask pulling out a book. A book. My baby has textbooks now.
It's a book. But not a book. He's ever so clear. Does he get that from his mother? (Sam would probably have a good answer for that. . .).
Wow. I say. Don't push. Don't push. . .
He opens to show me the story inside. We disagree a bit about reading words inside, and my fears are hardening my stomach. Is this going to be all year?
Would you like to hear the story? He asks. And that smile returns.
I would love it. And I relax myself. Let him take the lead. Let him show me the way.
And he reads. Confidently. A sweet little story about Pam and Dan and her little red hat that flys away. . .
like my heart
. . .with the wind. Until Dan catches it and brings it back to her. And then they go! go! go!
And he just beamed.
So proud of himself and what he could do. Reading all by himself. And if asked, he probably couldn't tell you why he was so happy. But he could feel it.
I remembered those days from Kindergarten when he flatly refused to read those little books that he brought home. Ones that they had worked on together as a class all morning. Insisting that he couldn't remember those words. Or it was too hard. Or that he already knew what they said.
And now he read with ease. Because he was ready. Inside he knew, he felt, he was ready.
So excited. Would you like to hear it again? And I couldn't stop beaming. He read it three times.
I wish I could keep this book here. He said. But we peeked at the stories ahead, and I promised him it would come back more often than he thought.
And read it again this morning to his Dada before he headed off to work.
His teacher related to us the night before that the transformation that took place from the beginning to the end of the year was absolutely amazing. I remember that transformation in Kindergarten. Not realizing that first grade would be just as magical.
And here it is. The magic. Already.
And even as I continue to feel along here in the dark. I'm smiling. Because in the center of the room is a small light. The light of my boys. And I guess I really didn't need that switch after all.
Because they know the way.