I've been driving Claire to school all week ~ just trying to let her sleep in and catch her breath a little. In order to get out the door on time she has to be up by 6:15 and out the door by 6:55. The bus comes around 7 and she is off to start her school day. 6:15 comes early on these dark winter days.
I used to drive the kids in almost daily when all three were in elementary school together. They, and I, could all get a little more shut eye. Their school doesn't start until 7:50 but the county needs the buses to run another load to school so our kids have the eariest pick up. I liked driving them to school and hearing their chatter in the back, but I gave it up after Zach left and went to middle school. It was too hard, having them on two different schedules, with Zach going to school later than Lucas and Claire. And besides Lucas and Claire really liked riding the bus. It was their time to hang out with friends, get the latest elementary school gossip and just let off a little steam before the rigors of the academic day began.
It time seems so long ago now, the time when I used to drive the kiddos. That was back when Zach was a fifth grader, Lucas was a second grader and Claire was a wee little kindergartner. I never imagined the time could come so quickly and Claire would be my last one at elementary school ~ staring the middle school years square in the eye.
Today, as I was dropping her off, though, I noticed something. I watched as the fifth grader safety patrols all took to their jobs. Claire and her group went to get the flags to put up. The other "safetys" (as they are called) took their positions in the car pool loop, helping to keep traffic flowing. My mind wandered back to the days when Zach was a fifth grader and I would see all of those kids doing the same jobs these kids are doing now. I remember thinking how big and grown up they looked. And then my mind wandered to the days of watching Lucas in the car pool loop, directing traffic. I remember so clearly thinking those kids did not look nearly as old and grown up as Zach's class did. I looked at these kids today and thought...there is no way these kids are as old as fifth graders and getting ready to head to middle school. It's impossible. They still look like babies.
How can that be?
How can it be that, although, the kids are all the same ages, my youngest one's class looks so much younger and kid-like? They don't look like they are anywhere near ready to leave the confines of elementary school and head off into the big, wide world of middle school. Maybe it's because I don't want to think about Claire and her group growing up. Maybe it's because she's my baby and time with her is passing so quickly. I want to slow time down, with all of them, not just her. It's going to fast.
Oh, for the love of my children...