2,162. That’s how many days of you I will have lived when I drop you off tomorrow morning for your first day of kindergarten.
That’s how many days of Russ there have been in my life. Granted, I’m not counting the 156 days between finding out you were a boy – knowing you would be named Russ – and the day I met you. I will never forget that day. You were 7 lbs. 14 oz. You were 21.25 inches long.
I often tell first time moms that though I love every single one of my children to the point that it hurts a little bit, they should really soak up that first baby. Because there is nothing like your first – because you are both like new people in a way, and something is forever altered in a mom’s head and heart when she sees her baby for the first time. She doesn’t even know it. She won’t know it for a while, sometimes. And the sight of you, that was my moment, the one where everything in the universe became just a little bit different. Almost 2,162 days ago.
I’m not afraid of tomorrow, and from what I can tell, you’re only slightly afraid – a normal, healthy amount of nerves. The kind of heightened anxiety that smells of freshly sharpened pencils. It won’t be your first day of school by any stretch, but it will be your first day of a place that doesn’t stay little. Such is the magic of preschool – even on the very last day, preschool children still feel “little.” But what begins tomorrow will bear little resemblance to the end. By the time you are done here, in elementary school, you will be 11 years old and you will look, walk, talk, and basically do just about everything a little differently. A little less like a little boy and a little more like a teenager. And if I’m being honest, I’m not afraid of tomorrow, but I’m afraid of that day, lurking off in the future at some undetermined point, when you become different.
I will certainly shed some tears tomorrow, but that won’t be anything different at all. And no matter how much you change or grow, you will always be the person who made me a mother, who I love so deeply that it – again – hurts just a bit. Tomorrow is an easy “first,” comparably speaking, and I realize that. The wisdom and honesty of older, more experienced moms tells me that – that tomorrow is a happy day, one to celebrate.
There will be countless other firsts before you leave for college, sometime around day 7,000. For now, I will relish these little moments where you still want to snuggle, where you still call me “mommy” instead of “mom,” and where you still hug on your bear Charlie at bedtime. Because tomorrow is just one day, in a lifetime where there will never be enough days of you – and I know that it will all pass too quickly for my soft heart.