i'm thinking about preschools in the grey of winter morning, the sun almost up. i hear finn calling me from his room and i'm snapped back to our day ahead. spending the morning together downstairs, making oatmeal and toast, putting together puzzles, painting in the basement in the oversize teeshirt he wears that someone got after they ran a 5k, a prize of cotton.
i think about our time together that we've spent in the mornings. every morning. our routine and our rituals. we walk down the steps holding each other's hand, finn's little feet carefully stepping one after the other, holding onto the railing. "i can do it, mama. and i don't even fall."
our mornings are my favorite. building bridges with his wooden blocks, carefully placing his dinosaurs on the tops of the towers and then knocking them over laughing. the clock keeps ticking but i'm not watching the time. it flows quietly.
but then my mind races forward. to the breaking of winter. to the first signs of spring. like the time i saw a weed coming up in-between cracks in our driveway, the way it feels when spring finally arrives, like it had to crawl through concrete to make it to us. i think about muddy yards, and hikes in the park. then i think about summer. my favorite season. messy hair smelling of chlorine and bare feet with chalk on the bottoms from the driveway. i think about the humidity upstairs in our little house, cotton nightgowns, and the air from our fan blowing overtop of us.
then my mind goes even further. to a birthday party that belongs to a new three year old. how can it be possible that this is the year i will have a three year old? he still seems so new to me. and yet every day he reminds me that he isn't a baby. just this morning when james was leaving for work finn called him back into the room, "dada" he yelled.
"be careful driving because the roads..they could be slipwee" he isn't a baby anymore. he is a toddler. he is a little boy. he is a person filled with sympathy and kindness and he worries about things just like i do, and he problem solves and tries to fix things when they break. he travels with us for seven hours in a car and doesn't complain. who is he?
and so i think of the summer ending, and i think of fall beginning. the smells of the cooling air, the falling leaves and bouquets of pencils and school books. i think of the sounds of school buses coming down the street again. the running of children to the opened doors, parents standing at the top of the driveway waving goodbye. is my son ready for that? how many days a week? where will he go? when does enrollment begin? all the necessary questions filling my head. who will his teacher be? will the other kids be nice to him? but most of all, will he be happy? and selfishly wondering, will i?
people tell me a new routine will be good for him. socializing with other kids his age will be good for him. the lessons and the planning that i'm not equipped with to teach him at home will too, be good for him. i listen to their opinions and advice but i feel my insides turning with anxiety. "he's too little" my mind says. "he's ready" it says one second later.
we have time, i remind myself. today we are stuck in the house, the snow falling outside covering the roads making them slick and icy. we'll stay in together. i'll stop worrying ahead and come fall, we'll have decided what we should do.
but then i picture it, the first day of preschool. watching him in the rear view mirror on the drive to school, wondering how it's this time already. we get to his classroom and he takes his things and puts them in his cubby. he says goodbye to me and i turn and head towards the door. before i get to my car i turn and walk back to his room. standing by the door, i watch him quietly. maybe he's immersed in a project or maybe he's sitting listening to his teacher read a story. i think of all those nights he crawls into our bed, lying in the middle of me and james in the pitch black. he can't see me, but i know he feels me close.