In a Flash

In a flash, he's gone from this:


To this:


Virginia has to be at school forty-five minutes before Wills, so four days a week I get to walk him to preschool by himself. (Well, with Eliza, but she doesn't say much in her stroller.)

It only takes about five minutes (for those of you who know me, we have to walk around to the way back of the building), but it is one of my favorite parts of the day. He holds my hand as we cross the street and usually through the entire schoolyard.

We talk the whole time and there is usually no rhyme or reason to what's on his mind.

I obviously know that when we get to his classroom door, I will have to say goodbye. I am preparing for this the whole walk. Getting Wills to school is the purpose of our walk.

But I am never ready to get there.

We cross the courtyard, deep in conversation. And all of a sudden, his teacher opens the door, reaches out her hand for him, and he steps into the classroom. I watch as he takes off his backpack and jacket and hangs them in his cubby.

"Have a good day, buddy," I call out. "I love you."

"Love you, too, Mommy," he replies.

And in the blink of an eye, he is gone.

I am never ready for the finality of the goodbye or for how quickly it occurs. One second, we were enjoying being together and talking about how Santa Claus will be able to fit through our chimney. The next second he's not there anymore.

Even though I am prepared for what is coming, even though I know school is good for him and he loves it, I still have a hard time leaving him at the door.

I started thinking today- are we ever really ready to say goodbye? Aren't there always things that we anticipate for a long time and yet their arrival still seems painfully quick? Here one second, gone the next. How I miss my little buddy for those next four hours!

Findley and I cannot watch Toy Story III without crying. Not sniffling with the occasional tear escaping to roll down our faces, but absolutely bawling. We don't care that Andy gives Woody and the rest of the gang away, but we are devastated that Andy grows up. When his mother looks around his empty room, we feel sick to our stomachs. We are picturing Willsy, all grown up and ready to move on to the next phase.

Abby, you are thinking, he's not even in kindergarten yet.

I know, I know. But the day is coming, and much faster than I want it to. And even though I am already preparing for that moment, I know it, too, will seem sudden. Here one second, gone the next.

What is the point of giving you a glimpse into how my mind works, other than causing you to feel sorry for Findley? To remind those of you with small children to seize every moment. You won't be stuck at home changing diapers forever. Before you know it, you'll be wishing there was someone around to smear marker on your new pillows or eat every single Hershey kiss that you hid in the cabinet.

The challenge for me is to let my awareness of what's ahead empower me to love Wills more fully today, not paralyze me with anxiety over a day fourteen years from now. I am doing a pretty good job with that lately- I think Findley might have to start taking him to school because I can't be trusted to follow through on the task!

Here's wishing he would stay just like this forever!

The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse he build while playing hookie on Tuesday.

Still sucks his fingers and rubs his neck

Playing on the construction equipment with Eliza

What he's drawing these days...

A house decorated for Christmas

And, of course,

Sheriff Woody

Have a great weekend, everybody!