Hot, cold, rain or snow, the freckle-faced schoolboy and I managed to uphold our promise to wander from west side to east at least once a week; every week school was in session. Today concludes those 5th grade meanderings because by end of day Tuesday, he will move up to sixth grade and summer will officially begin.
Sweet as he so often is, I couldn’t help but notice a bit of push-me pull-yous since the reality of the season and his imminent stay chez sleep-away camp is on the horizon Yes, it’s his job to separate from his mother. Yes, it’s his job to be short tempered with his mother.
And yes, mothers do have feelings. And desires. To let our children grow and seize the world.
Of course, my “mother” job is to raise the children so that they can move along in life, learn to walk, talk and eventually cross the streets with confidence and humility by themselves. With pride and joy I watch as my own have come to navigate their NYC way of life. They not only cross the streets by themselves with self assurance, they’ve come to embrace the excitement and stimulation that this city life has to offer. These were the California kids that just three years ago wouldn’t get out of our car by themselves if only to run 10 feet to the neighborhood bakery and pick up their LA made pain au chocolat or raspberry croissant.
But now, there’s no turning back. It is true that by spring of 5th grade, many NYC children do not yet have a mastery of public transport. This boy does as do many of his friends. Just the same, as he became comfortable with the concept, the not-so-little 11-year old nearly always requested that I meet him after school and travel by his side. He says he likes the company, as do I.
And that tender time of after-school togetherness is manifested in our winsome walks across the Park. Many times as of late, the schoolboy reached out his arm, hung his hand on my shoulder or held my hand without letting go.
It’s easy to understand why. Not only is the boy moving up a grade but there’s the camp thing. His first extended trip away from home. I know he’ll be fine (I hope I’ll be fine) but I will miss him because I know that when he comes back he’ll have made the break. He’ll have spent more than a night or two away learning to canoe, make his bed (maybe) and live with others.
No doubt, the 11-year old’s recent resistant behavior coupled with his hand on my shoulder, he can see the open road. Fortunately, it’s a two way street. xoxo sweet bear.