When I was in fourth grade, my teacher read us the book Bridge to Terabithia. At the end of every day for about fifteen minutes we would sit at our desks and silently soak in her magical world before the bell would break our eager trance.
It had been a long time since any of us had been read to, because so much emphasis in those years was on us learning to read for ourselves, so being read to was such a rare and refreshing treat. Our teacher had clearly read the story aloud before. She was so good at the telling of it.
It was perhaps the last time that anyone read a whole book to me, and it was the first time that I remember crying over a story. I cried for the characters' inability to stay children forever, and, perhaps unwittingly, I cried for myself for this same reason.
To me, this book will always signify growing up.
The events of this summer have forced Guy and me to take some fairly significant steps onto our own personal Bridge to Terabithia. (Or for anyone who has read the book, I guess I should say our Bridge away from our private Terabithia!) We have lived in a beautiful, perfect world of our own making for so long. A world of kindness, of self-discovery, a world of loveliness, a world of peace.
I have not been eager to step out of that world, but time stands still for no one, not even Mommies.
Now, I was in fourth grade when I started to have personal experiences with loss and death, but as Guy readies himself for Kindergarten, he has already experienced loss and the death of two friends this summer. He is so mature for his age and comprehends so much. I presume that this is a double-edged sword for my little man-child. This characteristic will both protect him and cause him to carry more than a five-year-old should. But such is the state of the world these days. Our children must carry more, earlier than we ever had to. (But I do believe they came to earth equipped for this challenge!)
As I tucked Guy in to bed this evening, I made the mistake of telling him that I have a special place in my heart where I keep my love for him, and that even if he grows up and no longer wants to snuggle with Mommy anymore, I'd still have that special place where I'll keep all of those special moments in my heart for him. He started to bawl when I said that. And then so did I.
Guy spent most of the day playing with friends, and considerably less time sitting in my lap as I read him Knuffle Bunny. As much as he loves life and looks forward to the adventures ahead of him, I know he feels the bitter-sweet pull of change, as do I.
36 more days until the first day of Kindergarten. Our Kindergarten Countdown Chain is getting shockingly short, but serves as a constant reminder to make the most of our time together.
Tomorrow, we'll be making a list of everything that Guy and I want to do together before school starts, just to make sure that we don't miss anything!
When I was home visiting my parents back in February, I decided to take Guy and Scarlett to tour my elementary school to help Guy get pumped up about going to Kindergarten.
I attended Forestlawn Elementary for Kindergarten through 5th grade. It is less than .3 miles from my home, so we walked to school every day.
It was neat to go back and see that almost nothing about the building has changed.
If you are still reading...Come have a look with me, won't you?
It'll be quick, I promise!
(I remember putting on snow boots here in the winter. In the summertime, they posted the class lists on this window.)
Same lunch tables and benches in the gym that folded up into compartments in the wall.
(I ate many homemade lunches on these tables, thanks to my Mom!)
Same backboards, same mats, same floor.
Same artwork and lunch-lady windows.
Same pencil and notebook dispenser.
(What a thrill that was...putting the quarter in and hoping something fluorescent came out!!
Hello, it was the 80's.)
Same hallway. There's just one. Oh, the simplicity of it all.
If these halls could talk.
Tonight during Family Home Evening, Steve and I entertained the kids by telling them all sorts of funny stories from our school days. For some reason, telling him about the time that I pee'd my pants at school brought Guy to tears with laughter! :) We assured him that soon he'd have lots of funny school stories of his own to share with us. Laughing ourselves to tears tonight as a family had a rejuvenating effect on all of us.
Hand-in-hand, we'll figure life out together, one step at a time. This is one of the most beautiful things about family. It is a reassuring truth, and I am so thankful for it!