Empty Nesting

I tasted a very small taste of what having an empty nest must feel like. Fortunately, God weans us off our kids slowly, gradually.

Today was a three hour wean {well, actually 2.5 if you don't count the thirty minutes I stayed in the classroom with him}.

I was hovering. I admit.

I knew he'd be totally fine -- although every day he's repeated himself emphatically: "Mommy, you need to stay with me at school all the time."

I didn't make a big deal of leaving -- it was clean up time and he knew I needed to take Ezra out of the room -- Mister I Will Pull All The Toys Out As Fast As You Can Put Them Away. So we exited to the playground, played for a bit as I collected myself, then made our way, slowly, to the car -- me, checking, looking back, waiting for a sobbing four-year-old who never came.

So thankful.
Part of my reluctance to leave was pure curiosity, the teacher in me. What books is she going to read? What songs will they sing? What crafts? What snacks did the other moms send? Will he make new friends? Will he be thoughtful, like we talked about? Will he talk when the teacher calls on him? Will he use the bathroom without help?
Oh, so curious. I wanted to be invisible and watch it all unfold. This new grown boy. With thoughts all his own. Making new friends. Setting out on a blessed life.
A fly on the wall. If only.

But it's me and Junior now {oh child of many nicknames}. Son #2 and mom, all to himself. Post office, almost library, then campus duck pond. Hugging tightly, fingers locked. Clinging to the one left in the nest.
And the older woman, hers just flown, in the post office sighs, "they look so different now, when they're not mine, when I'm old and they're young. I had a red-head too." I smile -- look at that young life a little differently -- appreciate the moment. Then he rips a page out of a children's book on the little table. {what? he never does that}
Constantly checking the time -- don't want to pick him up late. Then get there half an hour early. Join the other anxious parents -- did she cry? did they have fun? did he miss me?

Greeted with smiles and "I didn't have time to eat all my snack". Boy all grown, tears come again, he made a new friend, he says, but can't remember her name. Aaah. I can't stop touching his head. Love you, buddy.

And after tonight's goodnight blow-kiss, he says "Thank you for loving me, mommy."

Loving imperfectly, yes. But always loving.