“Are you ready for school, buddy?”
We were both ready. We looked at each other with excitement for very different reasons.
I was ready to get things done while your brother napped in his crib…without feeling guilty for letting you play on your own.
You were ready to play with that awesome train table in your teacher’s classroom.
We gleefully loaded in the car while you sang your ABC’s, followed by your own version of Wheels on the Bus, where your baby brother goes “round and round.”
I snuck a few glances back at you to be met with the biggest smile on your face as we pulled into the preschool parking lot.
“We’re at school!!” You squealed.
I was ready. But then, we turned the corner. And I realized that I was excited for you to grow up. And then I wasn’t ready at all.
I knew, once we turned that corner, there was no going back. You haven’t been my baby for eight months now, but I still look at you like I did the day you were born. Though toddlerhood has challenged me more than I ever thought possible, you are still the snuggliest, silliest, most obedient, content little boy. I don’t ever want to imagine life without you in it. You have given me the purpose that I never knew I craved so much.
You walked out of the car without a look back. You were so excited to grow up. And I felt a strange mix of pride and sadness. The last two and a half years have flown without my permission.
I looked at your baby brother in the back seat and my heart swelled right out of my chest. He smiled from head to toes, as he always does. He really is the most joyful little baby; keeping us together when our emotions threaten to bring us down. In his little baby voice, he squealed,
And I knew it would be your brother’s turn to grow up sooner than I care to accept.
And I wanted to reverse; put you back in your carseat, and freeze time. Where we didn’t turn the corner. Where you are both my little guys. Where there is innocence in your need. But, there’s no turning back. We’d already turned the corner.
This isn’t the first corner we will turn. And this won’t be the last time I’m struck by the speed of time. But it’s a corner I won’t soon forget.