Shutting the door from the house leading into the garage as quickly as I could I turned to catch three of my boys piling into the van. With a few shoves here and there I knew if I didn’t zip around to them and intervene I would never stop the squabbling or the offenses. Thankfully and miraculously they settled in on their own and just after I helped Tommy buckle himself in I heard a “bang bang bang” on the door. I knew just who it was.
Stopping to listen I heard two long wails and then “I wanna gooooo to schoooool”. Turning my lips up in a sympathetic smile I hurried to the door and gently pushed it open sliding my three year old that had collapsed with his face and belly against it out of the way. There standing in the dimly lit entry was Little Z with his legs braced apart. His new shoes graced his feet and on his back was a bright electric blue and fire engine red “Thomas the Train” backpack that was haphazardly settled onto his heaving shoulders. It was unzipped everywhere and hanging lopsided looking frantic just like him.
Looking at him I knew exactly what had happened. As I had been scurrying about helping kids get backpacks and shoes and reminding them to grab lunches he must have hurried up the stairs, gone all the way down the hall to his room and dug in his closet for a backpack then hurried back down as fast as his three year old legs could carry him to join his big brothers for school. Unfortunately I had already made it into the garage and was blatantly leaving without him.
Staring down at him and his already cried on face I noticed his eyes were a well of tears that threatened to spill over as he said once again that he wanted to go to school. Picking up my littlest boy I pulled him close and felt the dam break as his glistening tears overflowed onto my cheek. Snuggling my nose into his sweet brown neck and kissing his wet little eyelids he sucked in air and sobbed some more about going to school as I crooned in his ear that he could ride with his big sister to her school. Then I plopped him down on a chair for “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” and got out some “Fruit Gusher” special school snacks for his chubby little fingers and all was well in the world.
Leaving him behind with his big sister and brother so I could maneuver the halls of the middle school with my third grader, first grader, and brand new kindergartener was a must. Today he could not come, not when I had the other three to contend with. Sighing I thought that it must be so hard to be the tag-a-long. Everybody else had a lunch bag, a backpack, and a school uniform and everybody else was going on an exciting adventure today. Standing in the door way watching him munch away with his backpack securely in place I couldn’t help but notice how big he had grown. Already that morning he had insisted that I help him put his new shoes on and then approached me with big brother's hair gel so he could have spiky hair too for school. I obliged of course and he went on his merry way. When did my baby figure this all out? I realized at that moment that this would be my last year of having him home before he trotted off with his brothers next fall to Pre-K. I would not take this year for granted. He was my little buddy and I was going to do my best to enjoy every moment. Bringing my mind back to the present I knew it was time for me to go. Three anxious little boys were waiting out in the garage. Looking around for my older kids I let them know I was headed out and would be back soon. Peeking in on Little Z one last time I knew he would be fine as he sat enamored by Mickey and his "big kid" snack so I slipped out my back door to my loaded van to drive my other boys to school.