Our Babies Are Off To School

School starts in just a few weeks.

This summer flew by. These last 5 years flew by, even in their messy, exhausting moments. They were a blur, gone in a blink, and now they are snapshots in a frame, our phones, our memories.

They are past.

The hard part isn’t the logistics – the morning drop-offs and the packing of lunches; the permission slips and the homework. Although that is all very hard.

No, the hard part is that we know that what’s ahead – all the adventures and heartbreaks and poignancy of school – of youth itself – is a whirlwind that we never quite latch onto while it’s happening, try as we might.

We can’t believe our own childhoods are over; we can’t believe how fast our children are growing up.

We know, now, that things are impermanent. We know now about loss. We know what our children will face, and yet we’ll never know exactly.

We have an idea now, though. We’ve lived enough ourselves to have an idea.

It’s a great adventure. It’s a lot of monotony. It’s everything in between.

Our kids don’t know this as they go off to Kindergarten. As they begin childhood proper, leaving babyhood firmly behind them. 

The have no idea yet of the mountains in front of them – of the friends they will make, and of the friends they will lose. Of the triumphs and tragedies that, even in their own individual smallness, will make up the larger landscape of their lives.

It will seem big. It will be big. And it will be ordinary too. A regular life.

This step into the larger world beyond the cocoon of family is where our kids will define themselves outside of the context of us.

This is hard to watch.

We worry that their feelings will get hurt (they will). 

We worry that they’ll fail at things (they will).

We worry that things won’t go as they hope (they won’t).

But that’s ok. It’s how they will grow up and into themselves.

Our babies are off to school, whether our babies are five or fifteen.

Summer pauses us; the start of fall begins the next chapter, and all the forward motion and growth that brings.

Our babies are off to school. Let their adventure begin.

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