As I was getting ready to walk Sean to school today, I looked in the bathroom mirror to see him standing behind me, dressed and ready to go. I was surprised to see that he had on the clothes that I had laid out for him. Usually, he will wear anything BUT the clothes I lay out. We are in that stage.
I noticed that he had his shirt on backwards, as usual. It’s not his fault. He is genetically predisposed. Nine times out of ten I’ll put my shirt on backwards too, which in and of itself is amazing given the 50/50 odds. Wearing a shirt backwards is not too bothersome, unless you are coming out of a dressing room and you don’t notice it until you are in the food court in the mall. Not that that’s ever happened to me. No, I’m just saying it could. I also noticed that his hair was a crazy mess, also genetic, and he looked a little bit like a cross between an elf and Howdy Doody. The sum of those parts made me smile.
Along with the backwards shirt, the pants he had on were ridiculously small — so small, that he couldn’t fasten the snap. I am pretty sure that it was just earlier in the week that I had cinched up the adjustable waist band in these pants as far as it would go and rolled up the cuffs. Apparently children really DO grow overnight.
I would have liked for him to change into pants that fit, but once you have your shoes on, changing pants is a terrific chore, and he could not be persuaded. So I let out the adjustable waistband as far as it would go and through the force of will and magic, I managed to snap his pants. If worse comes to worse today and the pants won’t stay snapped, he’ll just have to wear his shirt out. Which I freely admit, I’ve done myself a time or two in recent years.
Maybe it was the pants, or maybe it was my own uneven hormones, but as we trotted to school, something about him just seemed bigger today than yesterday. Or it could be that since he makes me run the whole half mile to school carrying his backpack, I was a little light headed and my perception was skewed.
Usually I walk him into the school and to his classroom but today I decided that I would stop at the edge of the school yard and let him take it from there. I handed off his backpack and told him I’d see him later. He took off running towards the school, stopped abruptly and turned to blow me a kiss and then ran the rest of the way into the building without looking back.
I stood there at the top of the hill, watching him run towards the school, taking note of the too-small pants, the too-big backpack, his copper hair bouncing and sparkling in the morning sun. I watched him as he disappeared into the sea of children flowing into the school and suddenly he didn’t look so big anymore. He looked small, really small, three-year-old small. And three-year-old’s have no business walking into a big school by themselves.
How did he go from being so big to so small on the half-mile walk to school? How does that happen?
I sighed and shook my head in disbelief. Or maybe I was shaking off something else.
I turned and headed home so that I wouldn’t act on the urge to go get him and take him home with me.