I just dropped off my baby, my firstborn child, at the high school. High School. See? I said it out loud, or in ink, or... something like that. That means I'm on my way to acceptance, right? I seem to be comfortable with the words "ninth grade" but the "fresh..." word hasn't made it out yet. I'm trying.
No, school doesn't start quite this early. August tenth is bad enough. This is the start of rookie band camp, held at the high school for two days. Next week they go away to a 4-H campground for five days with the full group.
We talked him into marching band. He has enough friends participating that I think he'll love it. He needed a group of peeps to start school with. The kids in the high school are the same as those in the middle school, and the place is just across the street, but somehow it felt like it would be important for him to have a circle. Kids he already knows, who can watch his back, other boys who can play wingman for him with girls.
He's tried a variety of extracurricular activities and nothing has really stuck. Chess club was "ok," winter swimming was "meh," Lego robotics club was "fine," and Ultimate Frisbee is "fine when my friends go." His motto would be "it's fine."
And marching band will be fine. High school will be fine. For him. But for me? I still get the words stuck in my throat, a lump in my gut, and tears in my eyes every time I talk about it.
The way my brain goes is this:
1. Pook started preschool at 2 1/2. That was the end of ever knowing what he did during the day. It was "fine" every day. He liked the playground.
2. Elementary school lasted a long time. I'd gotten pretty comfortable there and saw no reason to leave. I still never had a clue what he did. He told me about the cafeteria and the rest was just "fine."
3. Middle school went by like a quick roller coaster. I learned about his friends and activities through the mom of his buddy. He said it was all "fine."
4. High school will go by quickly. He will never tell me squat. It will be "fine."
5. College will be far away, physically or metaphorically. He will communicate with text and tell me it is "fine."
6. He will move somewhere cold. It will be "fine" and I will be lonely.
At this point in the thinking process, I get teary. I announced to CD that I needed a dog.