10 hours until the bus pulls away with my boys on it for the last time. Tess finished today.
10 hours until the piles of slippery clothes all laid out on the step and the lunches tucked into their boxes in the fridge go with them.
10 hours until I sing for the last time, upon finding clean underwear still laying on the step after the other clothes have been donned, “Underwear, it’s fun ter wear” in a morning falsetto that drives them all crazy.
10 hours until I’ll remind them, as I do most mornings, that not all mothers are funny. Some feed their children slimy oatymeal with raisins while they listen to elevator music in a grey house in which every room is dressed in beige and who make them read the Wall Street Journal before they can eat breakfast. But not yours, I’ll tell them. Yours is fun-nee. Lucky kids.
10 hours until I see my lovely neighbors at the bus stop and thank Father again for dropping me here with these women who I love doing life with and whose kids give mine someone to play in the creek with so I don’t have to.
10 hours until I whisper a prayer under my breath to keep them safe and bring them back.
10 hours until getting all four of them out the door involves hand clapping and sweat in my bra.
10 hours until I rattle off for the billionth time what the breakfast choices are. They never change. And still I have to repeat them every morning: eggs, toast, cereal, sausage, oatymeal, grapefruit.
10 hours until I have my last day with just the girls for a while. And in which we will go to Snow Ave Greenhouses to spruce this place up a bit and in which I’ll probably serve ice cream for lunch since it’s her favorite and summer is for favorite stuff.
18 hours until I’ll be on the bike path listening for the sound of that yellow savior delivering them home to me.
18 hours until they dance off the bus, waving goodbye to Mrs. Baker who has lovingly driven them for two years and who will pass out suckers as they dart past her.
18 hours until I thank her in a tremulous voice for doing so, driving and suckers.
18 hours until I wonder if I shouldn’t have just gone and gotten them at school. Even though I went today and delivered thanks and hugs to their amazing teachers so they could ride the bus home. Their request.
18 hours until they run through a tunnel of their teachers outstretched arms to the busses that will carry them home for the summer-the reason they argued about riding on the last day. That and something about being embarrassed that I always cry all over the teachers.
18 hours until I think of these three women and our principal and the hundred or so other employees who have loved on our kids and helped them grow this year. Spent scads of time with them so they would be ready for the next grade and would be better people for it. Scott, Donna, Tiffany, Cindy et al.-we love you.
18 hours until I thank Father for bringing us to this school, filled with these people and busting open doors to be Jesus to our neighbors and friends there. Seriously so thankful for that.
18 hours until we start a three month marathon of sand in our toes, not enough sleep and cramming it all in.
18 hours until they will say for the first time this summer, “I’m bored.” Maybe 18.5 depending.
18 hours until I’ll empty their backpacks and throw them in the closet instead of hanging them on the hook.
18 hours until I’ll swear to myself again to care about the housework less and about making memories more. To focus on laughing and playing and doing silly things like going grocery shopping in our pjs and wearing our clothes backward to the library instead of being ticked off that the house is in a constant state of defcon 4 and for the love of all things green, close the screen door behind you!
18 hours until they’ll be able to crack a peek at the bins I’ve been filling for each of them with books and bookmarks and colorful pencils and other small surprises aimed at keeping them motivated.
18 hours until they are scattered throughout the house, sprawled on their backs on the floor and draped over the armchairs, noses in their books.
23 days until Kamphuis opens their doors to another blueberry season, which has nothing to do with school letting out, but everything to do with my favorite season ever. June 29. You can thank me later.
18 hours until Nana will call and ask if they are free. Until she’ll tick off over the phone the hours until they’ll be on the beach with the cousins building fortresses and playing big cat and diving off the platform.
18 hours until I’ll call Dan and say that I’ve got them. He’ll know what I mean. And he’ll totally get why I’m crying. The kids won’t. But someday I will explain to them what it means to trust your most precious people to others all day. To wonder if they are being bullied or if the time you spent with them the night before on lattice method multiplication has translated to less frustration during math time. To wish they were here by you, headed to Costco or wherever you’re going so you can just be with them. To wonder aloud to Father if He would please just guard their little hearts and minds from the yuck that threatens to flood it each day, in our home and out of it. I’ll explain to them that when the bus pulls away, so does a little bit of a parent’s heart and they don’t get it back until it pulls back up at 4:15 and how strange that is to walk around all day with only part of a heart. How healing and good it is when summer allows you three solid months of having your heart intact and being a person undivided. Summer is sweet that way. I’m ready.
This is me being real. Thankful that if I have to wave them off tomorrow that the people they are headed to are people we’ve fallen in love with and who we just couldn’t be more thankful for. Seriously thankful.