Late one August night in 2001, I had an emotional crisis which my darling husband had to talk me down from and hug it out. My then youngest child, my sunshine-y, happy baby girl who was slumbering peacefully in the room next door was going to be starting kindergarten the next morning. No doubt she was having happy, sweet, sunshine-y dreams about her very first day of kindergarten because that was all that she chirped about as I bathed her, brushed her golden hair and tucked her into bed with kisses and hugs. She could not wait.
But me? I had resolved that she wouldn’t be starting kindergarten after all. That’s right. It was settled, I told my darling husband. Jodie would not be going to school.
But…Bill countered…she has to go to school.
No. No she does not. School will ruin her. Look what it has done to our 14 year old first born…a perfectly normal adolescent who would rather chew ground glass than hang out with mom and dad because
Oh my gawd! Mom! Dad! No!!
She used to love and adore us like the sun and the moon that rose and set for her every day. The she went to school.. It’s too late for her and Zoë and Abby but we can save this one. No school for her. I am the center of her universe. She is Mommy’s baby girl. She even still calls me Mommy. School willI ruin it all. No school for her.
I told you it was a crisis.
Bill obviously talked me out of it because Jodie did happily skip off to Miss Smith’s bright classroom the next morning. Our then teenager continued to put us through the paces but we all survived…as we have survived three more teenagers. And yes, the center of Jodie’s universe did shift as it did with all of my children.
So now I start to adjust to the fact that my third circus clown has left The Big Top…and her empty room…and the even quieter circus tent…and remembering not to set a place for her at the table…and on and on… I’m going to be okay…I think…and then Laurie shares I was the sun, and the kids were my planets and…
I’m a mess all over again because Beverly Beckham is right. When Hollie left the first time and then left the second time with Hazel and when Zoë left and now Jodie it has been the end.
I was the sun and they were the planets. And there was life on those planets, whirling, nonstop plans and parties and friends coming and going, and ideas and dreams and the phone ringing and doors slamming.
And I got to beam down on them. To watch. To glow.
And then they were gone, one after the other.
Yes, they do come back but it is never the same, noisy, chaotic, busy circus that was life under The Big Top when I was the sun and they were my planets.