jen groeber: mama art

4 kids in 3 years: reflections on motherhood, art and life.

First Day of School Looming- Gone, Gone, Gone confession. I’ve always scoffed a bit at those first-day-of-kindergarten-posts-with-photos that did anything but celebrate. I knew how I’d feel. Holy cow, kids headed to school? Freedom, Mama! Start the blender! Any words posted to a FB update even slightly scented with tears on the keyboard left me slightly mystified.

And then the perfect storm struck. No playdates scheduled and a quick glance at the calendar revealed the unthinkable. It’s officially late August. Jasper starts kindergarten next week.

And it’s such an amazing school and he’s so excited and I’m so very exhausted (four kids born in three years and no nanny, a post for another day) that I did not see it coming, that feeling, of something slipping away, something I missed. A perfect photo opportunity but there’s no room on the disc drive for more photos. But for six years.

I was struck that there will be hardly any more days like this. Midweek apple picking, sweatshirt October days on an empty beach, bike rides through the parklands across the street to the field we call Magic Field… those are saved only for weekends now for my oldest. He has crossed over, my first, my special baby.

It was the bike rides that caught me deep in my belly. He’s such a bold bike rider. Fridays were his school-free, sibling-free day and he would ride like the wind while I ran. We would talk about everything as his muscled legs pumped up and down, up and down. He rode through every mud puddle, hopped every speed bump.

So for today, I packed a beach lunch for the five of us, threw bathing suits on and headed to Cranes Beach. On the way, I caught their faces in the rearview mirror, four children strapped into carseats, glancing out their respective windows.  We were passing marshes, salt water in the air, hands dancing through the breeze in the windows. We were nodding in sync to Phillip Phillips’ Gone, Gone, Gone.

When life leaves you high and dryIMG_5941

I’ll be at your door tonight

If you need help, if you need help

I’ll shut down the city lights

I’ll lie, cheat, I’ll beg and bribe

To make you well, to make you well…

You’re my back bone

You’re my cornerstone

You’re my crutch when my legs stop moving

You’re my head start

You’re my rugged heart

You’re the pulse that I’ve always needed

Like a drum, baby, don’t stop beating,

Like a drum, baby, don’t stop beating,

Like a drum, baby, don’t stop beating,

Like a drum, baby, don’t stop beating,

Like a drum my heart never stops beating…

For you, for you.

And by the end, they were each bouncing their heads and their legs, rocking out with cheezy hand gestures, I-love-you signs and pointing to each other, for you, for you. It was one of those perfect moments where everything was sepia-tinted, becoming a memory before the moment was even over. Total melodrama. Tears ran down my cheeks.

Now in a Nicholas Sparks novel either we crash the car into the marshes or the greatest love of my life flags me down. But not us. My love is at work welcoming his own new school year, and my driving’s not all that bad. So we had a decent day at a jam-packed beach.

And as I stood in the cold water the three youngest crowded my legs hanging onto my waist, my thigh, my hands, and we watched our big boy Jasper swim out beyond the sandbar, water over his head, but holding his own. As we stood rooted near the shore the waves washed around us and the tide came in, heedless of my desire to hold it back, hold it back. For you, for you.

Happy first day of school, Jasper.

6 comments on “First Day of School Looming- Gone, Gone, Gone

  1. Heather Pillis
    October 9, 2013

    Ugh, tears. Yes– I am one of those melodramatic mommas as you know! 🙂 But I cry for yours too. We are in it together. I’ll be at your door tonight if you need help, if you need help.

    • jgroeber
      October 10, 2013

      Ah, my dear, exactly right! I thought of you when writing this, also for my prognosis as the “go, go, go girl” in Standing Still. What would we do without the mama-pals, gal pals and the like to get us through? Thank you!

  2. Margie S
    March 4, 2014

    That is a big moment! Sounds like you did your job and he is ready to go, as sad as that may be. My parents say you don’t lose them until they get married or they become too old and annoying and then you are ready. Again, cutest pictures ever!

    • jgroeber
      March 9, 2014

      Love the thought that I don’t lose them until they get married. I have one who has promised since he was able to promise that he would live next door and dig a tunnel so our houses could be connected. One can hope!

  3. Pingback: Leaving the Nest, an Ode to Pre-School | jen groeber: mama art

  4. Pingback: Summer Camp, All Alone | jen groeber: mama art

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This entry was posted on October 4, 2013 by in Memory, The Children, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , .

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