The real first day of school is tomorrow around here. Today's just orientation.
And senior year of high school.
The last first day they'll have together.
Ugh, can't start with "lasts" already or this year will pummel me senseless.
Though that moment, it needs the stopping and maybe one quick sigh...
One time, as my then-toddler younger son and I were dashing from one thing to another, running late, hurrying, he tugged on my hand, slowing me down. "What?" I asked impatiently.
"Mommy?" he asked. "Do we have time to stop and smell these flowers?"
We didn't have time.
Of course we had time.
Was he teasing me? Was he making a weirdly astute and sagacious observation about priorities and pace and values? Or was he just sincerely interested in smelling the flowers? How many cliches could he possible have heard? He was still such a newcomer to the planet.
"Sure," I answered, warily, and didn't tap my foot or check my watch while he bent his face over the flowers and sucked in a big sniff. Then another. And another.
"Smell them, Mommy."
I bent down, a knee on the dirty sidewalk, to the raggedy flowers in the tiny patch of dirt fenced in near a scraggly tree. They didn't really smell like anything.
I turned to my son, his face now level with mine, his red lips wet and smiling. "Nice, huh?" he asked me, and threw his arms around me, planting soggy kisses on cheek. He, unlike the flowers, smelled wonderful.
I scooped him up. "Really nice," I said.
Then we rushed off to our next thing, and the next, and ten minutes later, it seems, here we are. His last year before high school. His older brother's last year at home. Holy crap. Let me stop and breath this in for one honking second. Do we have time to stop and smell these flowers?
Seeing my boys smile, still -- getting those kisses even now that they are teenagers and I don't have to kneel down to be face-to-face (quite the opposite in fact), watching their strong straight backs as they walk away from me toward their next adventures... sometimes my heart is too exploding for my body. I have so much going on right now, so much to do, no time to stop -- and yet the stopping is up there near the top of my list of to do to day, too. Catch my breath, and my breath catches: look at where we are. Wow. Oh, my babies. Oh.
Last weekend, my mother-in-law described pulling up recently to a wonderful fancy birthday party for a friend of theirs, not sure they'd arrived at the correct entrance -- but then saying to my father-in-law, "Look at all these decrepit, fashrunken, fakrimpt people: we must be in the right place!"
Even in the stress of firsts, lasts, fashrukens, and rushes, it is good to feel like we're in the right place.
I hope you are, or heading there. (And on your way, don't forget to, you know, stop and...)