Happy Birthday, Max

I'm always late on Monday

The boys went back to school today. That is, they went back to Monday school, the one day a week enrichment program they go to in order to keep us all somewhat sane give them a different classroom experience. This morning was much like any other Monday school morning - we bickered and snarked our way out the door, running ten minutes late, even on the first day. We are NOT good at the whole "get out of the house at a set hour in the MORNING" deal. Sometimes I tell people I homeschool because it's easier than finding all their shoes before the school bus comes - and I'm only sort of kidding.

I did remember to line them up for the first day of school tradition. I took a honey bear (and lordy, do we have honey around here - we're up to three hives in the back yard), and squeezed a golden penny sized dollop of honey onto each tongue. "This," I said, taking care not to drip any on Tre's chin as he smirked, knowing what I was about to say, "is to remind you," Max's head was thrown back, his mouth levered wide, tasting the honey with the same abandon he does most things with, "that learning," Raphael fairly quivered, anticipating his taste, "is sweet."

Now I'm sitting in an empty house, watching "What Not to Wear" (and thinking they TOTALLY need to to a show with a pregnant lady. TOTALLY), and wondering what to do with my time. It occurs to me that in the rush of the morning, I forgot to get teary about the first day back at school. Like an echo, I'm hearing their voices now in a way I glossed over in the hustle of the morning.

"I'm not dissecting anything this year," Max announced as he lingered (oh my LORD, does that child linger) over his banana and peanut butter sandwich. "I don't believe in dissecting things. Not if they're going to dissect something like a frog. I just won't." Now I'm wondering, what is like a frog and what isn't? Last year they dissected sheep eyeballs. Would that be too frog-like? And when did he grow this heart for the tiny dissectable things? The child skewers me, with his clear-eyed devotion to what he suddenly decides is right.

"I am in SECOND GRADE, SECOND GRADE, SECOND GRADE!" Raphael bounced in the middle of the kitchen, a solidly landed two footed jump. Somehow this hadn't really hit him until last night, when he saw me loading up the back packs with new school supplies. All through breakfast he kept scurrying over to his back pack and pawing through it. "SHARPIES, I HAVE SHARPIES!" he crowed. I kept ordering him back to the table and urging him to stop talking in all caps, but that's how Raphi rolls. He's in the moment and on with the caps lock.

As we pulled into the parking lot, I saw a mom I'd been talking to at back to school night. Her son, Tim, is in Tre's grade, and this is his first year at Monday school. He's a little nervous about not knowing anyone. 
"Hey, Tre, there's Tim. Remember I told you about him?" Tre nodded out the window, looking unimpressed. "Hey, he needs a friend, okay? Think how it would feel - not knowing anyone..."
"Mom!" Tre cut me off. I parked and turned to give him my I-mean-it-face, but he grinned at me. "I got it, Mom. Tim will be taken care of. Me and my guys will watch out for him. You AND his mom can chillax." 
I shook my head. Chillax, indeed. How did my firstborn become so sure of himself? Who gave him the keys to the school? I can't help but be proud - and expect that Tim will be fine.

Now, in my quiet, empty house, I'm listening to the echo of their voices, feeling the texture of who they are curl up in my heart, and just like that, the first day back to school tears finally come. 

Four hours late, but that's how it goes with Monday school.



I can't shake the feeling that "What Not To Wear" was inspired by someone who saw me in the mall.


i meant to comment you before today. you know so i could have told the boys good luck BEFORE they started school But, i didn't and so now i am sitting here only 9+ hours too late.
oh well better late then never, right? tell the boys i hope today was a blast. AND, that i tried sending the mind messages on the whole good luck thing.


I'm catching up with you a few days late...and tearing up, belatedly, at your fantastic news. Congratulations and blessings to the whole family! I'm so very happy for you!


I've cried the first day of school, every year for the past 26 years. This year should mark the last. It's a good cry.

By the way, honey goes great on a peanut butter and banana sandwich - you just have to mash it all up.

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