The other day when I was driving Lucas to school at the ungodly hour of 6 a.m. I told him I was hoping I didn't have to walk him into school. I know it's his school. I know he goes there every day. But it was still black as night out and it was a different situation. I didn't know where exactly they teachers and kids would be. Did I have to "check him in?" I didn't know. All I knew was that I didn't want to have to get out of the car...I was still wearing my slippers. Now, in my defense, I was dressed. I wasn't worried at all about the fact that my face was devoid of make-up or that my hair was pulled up into a pony tail, what concerned me were my slippers. I did not, under any circumstances, want to get out of the car in my warm and fuzzy slips.
I have to tell you, this is a complete and total 180 from where I used to be in life, only worrying about being in public in my slippers. When Zach and Lucas were just little guys and Claire was a newborn, I had to walk the boys into their preschool to both of their classes and Claire had to accompany us. To accomplish this feat, every morning I would get up at the crack of booty, shower, dry my hair, put my full face on and get completely dressed for the day before stepping one foot out of the house. People would marvel and say, "I just don't know how you do it." What I never told them was that it nearly killed me every morning to get it all done. But at that time I needed validation. I needed to be thought of a supermom!
I have long since shed most of my perfectionist tendencies. I can go out without make-up or my hair done. I can run errands in my work out clothes. If you don't like me because of it...so be it. The one thing I can't get do...I just can't get over going out in my slippers. My one little hang up (alright, there are more but that's the one I'm using for this blog!) is that I don't want to go out in public in my slippers.
And as we were driving and I was asking Lucas if I needed to walk him in, I was hoping against hope that I didn't. Lucas looked at me and said "Mom, it's OK. I can take care of it. I can walk myself in." He went on to say "I think I'm the only one who wouldn't be afraid to go into a new situation by myself." And he is right. He's been able to turn and wave good-bye to me since the "perfectionist" mama walked him into preschool for the first time. He's been able to do it when the other two clung to me for dear life, fearing I would never come back for them. Lucas has always had the self confidence to stand up tall and say "Here I am world!! And bye, Mom! I love you!" Which is exactly what he did the other day when we got to school. This time he didn't even look back.
His self confidence and easy going personality were a blessing to me when he was little. It made it easy to leave him at preschool when Claire was screaming, crying and demanding my full attention. It made it easy on me when it was time for kindergarten and he was one of the few who just smiled and waved...although, I have to say, my heart constricted a little as I walked out the door and left. It made it easy on me when we were brand new to Richmond and I could just walk him into second grade knowing he would smile and wave. He was more than willing to go to watch the Christmas show at school by himself. He wanted to see his girlfriend sing and I had more than I could handle at home, with Christmas right around the corner, so I asked if he could go alone. He was game. He said he was more than fine to go in alone and he smiled, waved and said "Bye."
But now, I'm not so sure I like him being so self-confident and able to walk into any situation now. I'm not so sure I want him to smile and wave without a little glance back or maybe an extra hug or two. It makes me sad to think that in the future he could be the one to smile, wave and walk away...making me wonder when I'll see him next. It makes my heart constrict a little wondering how he'll be when he's a college student on his own, or newly out in the world. Will he come back?
I have to say, I think he will. As I sit here reminiscing about times gone by, I remember how my heart sang when I saw Lucas at the end of his first day of kindergarten. He was at the head of the line and he flew into my arms when he saw me. He scampered off the bus the first day of second grade and was so eager to fill me on how things went in his new school. And while he was fine, saying he could go to the school Christmas concert alone, I think he was secretly pleased that I came anyway and sat a few rows behind him, making sure I was there for the whole thing and having a little laugh afterward about the fact that I felt guilty leaving him on his own. So I think, and wish more fervently than he will ever know, that he will be able to smile, wave good bye and always come back!
Oh, for the love of Lucas...