From June 20, 2017
Lucy loves the first day of school
Fresh pencils, new markers, a new folder most likely adorned with a kitty or a tiger and a box of crayons that increases in count as she gets older mark the rite of passage to a new school year
I gave up buying her "school clothes" because really, there is no difference in her world
For Lucy, the first day of school is a Holiday
So it should not surprise you when I say Lucy hates the last day of school
And as Lucy closes in on the last day of school (this Friday), she is getting anxious
She'll have no routine, no constant and for her, that is sometimes a bigger battle than we realize
But worse, she'll have no Mrs Plamondon
Last week, Monday to be precise, she started to get morose about the impending end of school days
On Friday, she observed she had one week left
By yesterday, she was in tears
This morning, when she woke me up at 4:46am, she was downright inconsolable about it
Mumma.....Mumma.... she said as she nudged me
Mummmmm-aaaaa she hissed into my ear
I snapped to attention
What's wrong honey?!?
What now? I shook my head trying to clear it
She sighed and I heard that lump in her throat threatening to turn her voice into a choking sob
A tear dropped from her eye
I threw back the covers, pulled her to me and hugged her
Did you have that bad dream again I whispered
No! but thanks for reminding me about that Mum! she snort cried, I don't want to leave Mrs Plamondon...
The tears were now falling from both eyes and her voice was cracking
I gently guided her out of our bedroom and into the spare room where we could talk without waking Sean or Ziggy who was now sprawled out on Lucy's bed
We climbed under the covers and lay on our sides facing each other
She threw her arm over my shoulder and held my hand with her other hand
She took a breath and blurted out
I'm sad school has to end and Mrs Plamondon won't be my teacher anymore and what if I don't get Ms Dabrieo and what if we move this summer and what if Mrs Plamondon moves or quits and what about Mrs Raposa? I barely even see her and now I won't see her at all in summer and I just got to do Lunch Bunch with Mrs J and now I won't even get to see her every week and why can't I just stay in school for the summer? We have to be off for two whole months and it won't even be fun because the Club isn't even open yet and if I can't go to school can I just go to work with you and now we're not going to Universal and.... I love Mrs Plamondon......her voice gave way and she stopped talking
I brushed her hair out of her eyes
She scrunched up her face trying to stop crying
Honey... I stopped and just let her cry because sometimes, we all just need a good cry
A few minutes passed and she wiped her eyes and nose on my hand
You know how you always ask me to stop growing up? And how I always tell you I have to grow up...that I want to grow up?
I chuckle...I do Luce
Well Mumma, I don't really want to grow up....I just want it to stay the same like it is right now with me, you Daddy, Ziggy and Mrs Plamondon as my teacher...
I hugged her closer
I know honey
She threw both arms around me
Mumma! I just want to be 8 forever! And in second grade!
I kissed the top of her head
Me too pal, me too
I rubbed her back until she drifted back to sleep
I watched her for a few minutes and tried to remember what I felt like at her age
And then I remember being the same way as a kid
I remember adoring my teachers thinking they were the smartest, coolest people I would ever meet in my whole life
And I imagined they all led perfectly glamorous lives
And I remember being more upset about not seeing them over the summer rather than not seeing my friends
I remember worrying about growing up and what I would do without the safe confines of my little world in Orrington, Maine which revolved around my parents and my siblings and the summer months in ORA baseball/softball
But I did it
I grew up, slowly but surely...and not without bump and bruises and lots of mistakes along the way
There were classes I barely passed in college and the time I had to come clean and tell my Dad I started smoking because it is a long ass drive from Syracuse, NY to Orrington
Then there was the time I wanted to drop out of college
But I graduated, with honors
And moved cross country to Illinois - jobless
But then I landed a great job landed which led to some everlasting friendships
There was a blackout here and there and one or two nights in a holding cell
But I can remember at least two midnight runs into Chicago in search of a tattoo parlor, countless nights at the bar (Fanmarker) admiring Bill and his ass (Dunbar was there too!) and a whole lot of laughs
There was a heartbreaking loss of a job and a heart broken and mended over countless relationships
There were friends made and lost
Weddings attended followed by baptisms and sadly, funerals for some who were far too young and a couple divorces
There were at least three apartment moves then another cross country move to Medford
A new nephew, the loss of grandparents, a new sister-in-law and more nephews
And then there was Sean
And now, on the cusp of 45, and another brother-in-law and a niece, and a house, and a new job and a hysterectomy, I long for the simplicity of being 8
Until I look down at my sleeping daughter and realize 8 is not as simple as I think
Because if 8 were so simple, she'd not have dried tears on her little cheeks and her arms would not be wrapped around my neck
If 8 were simple, she'd not worry about growing up and having to leave her Mum and Dad
And she'd not worry about Ziggy dying...or us...or her grandparents...
At the breakfast table, Lucy babbled on about her last test of the year, the Community Cookout we'll attend tonight at school and the ice cream party her class is having Thursday
Hey Goose - you ok?
Yeah Mum! Why wouldn't I be?
Well, you had a tough time earlier this morning...I trailed off not wanting to make a big deal about it
I know Mum, sorry about that ... I was just having a moment ..
She paused as she dropped her breakfast dish in the sink
I do that a lot don't I..have moments...?
You do, I answered carefully, but we all do pal, that's part of growing up and growing old....and it's what you do with those moments and how you react to them that count
Lucy turned and looked at me
So maybe I should work on the reaction part and not the moment part....right Mum?
Lucy grinned as only she can - that grin that tells me she is about to say something pretty stinkin' cheeky and says over her shoulder as she walks away to get shoes and socks on
So that's why I have a therapist!
I'm starting to wonder why I don't have a therapist .....