A week ago this morning, they shouldered their backpacks and they smiled slightly sleepy smiles and went over by the fence for the first day of school picture. I lift the lens and with it rises a surge of gratitude: though the earth seems to shift beneath me, these two are easy in their skins and their new Nikes, sauntering into this new year.
And I was doing okay, up until we were gathered by the blue station wagon for our morning prayer, when my husband prayed for me. After all, he walks these weeks with me each year. He hears the tears in the night, this mother’s heart stretching painfully as these boys grow. Somehow all the bittersweetness of this calling distills in the first weeks and last weeks of the school years, with all those unavoidable mile markers of their flourishing, up and away. He knows some days these mother-hands, who only just yesterday diapered and spoon fed, lifted and rocked, would still the globe’s relentless spin and sun-round circle and the twirl of calendar pages. So he prayed for me and the day ahead.
But I smiled through the tears. The years bring a gift too: the knowledge that as the early wake-ups get easier, the new shoes scuff, the afternoon sun lies lower and more golden and the nights cool, we’ll all find our rhythm. The supper table circle will be all the more precious as we gather at the end of the day. We will delight together over all they’re learning and the adventures they have. We’ll read aloud, we’ll have family movie nights and weekend cinnamon rolls. We’ll guard our margins. We’ll not miss the blessings ahead for the ones we’ve already tasted.
I’m being schooled myself, on living this good life, deep in the rich and lively now.