We moved here in the middle of Damon’s 1st grade year. And I remember feeling a little distressed when I found out that the elementary school bus wouldn’t come down our street. In Maryland, Damon’s bus picked him up at the end of our driveway. Of course, we lived in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by corn fields, so obviously there was no “neighborhood bus stop!” So, we learned that, here, we had to walk a whoppin’ tenth of a mile to the end of our street, where the bus stopped at the Hewitt house, to pick up another 1st grader named Trinity.
I think Damon rode the bus a few times and then, for whatever reason, I started driving him to/from school (only a half mile down the street, so it wasn’t a huge inconvenience… plus, it bought us a little extra time in the morning!).
When Damon was in 2nd grade, I also drove him to/from school… because I had to drive Avery across town to her preschool, and it was just easier for me to drive them both.
But when Damon was in 3rd grade, Avery started Kindergarten at the same elementary school. At this point, I decided they could both ride the big, bad school bus… they had each other for protection, after all. So, we were back at the bus stop at the Hewitt house. For the next two years, it was Damon, Avery, and Trinity at the bus stop every morning and every afternoon.
Today, all of that changed. Today was the first day of 5th grade for Damon and Trinity… 2nd grade for Avery. So, Damon and Trinity don’t attend the elementary school anymore, and they don’t ride the bus with Avery. Now, the “big kids” simply walk down Trinity’s driveway, through the gate in her neighbor’s backyard to the street behind Trinity’s house… where the middle school happens to sit.
And now, Avery is joined at the elementary bus stop by her friends Nadia and Natalie, who moved to our street last year and transferred to Avery’s school for this school year.
This morning, when the kids left for school, this didn’t seem very significant to me… because Nick walked them down the street to the bus stop/Trinity’s house. He saw Avery and the other girls on the bus, and he told me that Trinity’s mom walked Damon and Trinity out back and gave them “the mommy talk” about crossing the street and watched them head to the middle school together.
This afternoon, however, I went down to the Hewitt house myself… to wait for the bus and to look for the big kids walking home from middle school. And that’s when it hit me that so much had changed from the last few years.
Suddenly, my baby boy is a HUGE kid… walking himself to school, chatting on the way with his friend Trinity. And, at 3:40 when the school day is done, Damon and Trinity just walk out of the middle school, side by side, and make their way back to the Hewitt house. And I was watching them, from Trinity’s backyard, today… watching them walk toward me… and thinking, “that’s the same little boy that I used to have to walk to his class in pre-K.” I had to walk him into the school, to his class, and help him hang his coat and backpack in his cubby. Then I had to give him a big hug and kiss and tell him that I loved him and I’d be back for him soon. And then I prayed that I’d make it out of the classroom without him crying and begging me to stay (I don’t think Damon ever actually did that, by the way! lol). And now look at him!!!
And now Avery is showing the “new kids” in the neighborhood the ropes… She’s an old pro at the bus stop thing by now, on a first name basis with bus driver Judy, and didn’t even seem to notice that her big brother wasn’t with her on the bus for the first time today.
It’s days like today, and comparing them with the first days of school from the past, that I realize how quickly time is passing… how quickly my kids are growing up on me. Before I know it, Avery will be joining her brother and Trinity at the middle school. And then, a year later, Damon and Trinity will leave Avery behind once again and start walking a few steps further to the high school each morning. I can’t even wrap my brain around that. Of course, 4 years ago, I couldn’t wrap my brain around today either.
(Thanks to Trinity’s mom, Chris, for sharing this pic of our big kids on their way to the middle school this morning!)