He doesn’t really fit here any more. All limbs and bone. My nearly-eight-year-old boy, sitting in my lap. This used to be his space. A place he’d often crawl into, arms around my neck as his little body curled into mine. His three year old brother still fits in that space. All cosy and content.
But despite his size, my big boy has chosen to sit here. His weight awkwardly leaning against me. His legs jangling against mine. And I don’t mind. Not one bit. We both laugh at how absurd it is, but neither of us move.
I get nostalgic this time of year. The end of school sees them a year older, a year brighter, a year taller, a year wiser. My first baby is heading into grade three and it seems impossible. Middle school. Growing up.
On the rare occasions we have time just together, it’s so very lovely. When he can talk a break from talking about Pokemon, he’s funny and engaging, full of ideas and opinions. I can start to see who he will become.
Not so long ago I was fearing what school would bring. I wondered whether either of us would be up to the task. When he started Prep it just seemed so busy compared to what we were used to. Lunches and notes and readers and homework to juggle. There were new friends for both of us to make. New, unwritten rules to figure out.
I don’t really remember my own first year of school. There are hazy memories of a stuffy classroom and a teacher’s skirts. The tiny counting blocks that I was terrified of because all hell would break loose if we accidentally lost them. Soggy sandwiches, unaccompanied by an ice brick. All of it just random scraps with no narrative to link them.
But I remember grade three so clearly.
We have come to the point where my memories intersect with his experience. My clear memories of large stretches of time begin at about 8. I recall not only events but exactly how I felt during them. The elation that went with winning a competition and having it announced on assembly. The sting of being rejected by a friend. Struggling with some aspects of school and flying through others. The first poems I wrote. My first memories as I know my personality begin around eight years old.
When he feels hurt, I am immediately hurled back to when I was hurt at that age. When he’s ridiculously silly with his friends, I remember the eight year old boys in my life who were exactly the same. When he’s happy, I can clearly recall that contentment. When his friend casually throws his arm around his shoulder, I remember how that felt. The strength of those friendships and the simple happiness of acceptance. And when he crawls into my lap, I can remember the comfort of my own mother’s embrace. And I want it to last forever.
How are your end of year feels going?