As the first day of school looms on the horizon, I wonder what we would be doing if the boys were still with us. It would finally be their turn to shop for backpacks and new outfits for their first day of nursery school. Would they be excited?
What about the kids – their classmates. Will I forever look at these kids and wonder “what if?” They don’t even know that they’re missing two important members of their class.
While they were only here with me for such a short time, I had imagined experiencing a lifetime of firsts with my boys. No one is ever prepared to bury their children. This reality I have been living has taken a bit of getting used to.
If I let my mind wander, I can picture them. Dressed in new polo shirts and crisp shorts, they look like carbon copies of their big brother. I hold their nervous little hands as we walk through the parking lot.
Once inside, the cubbies stand to the right of me. They are filled with jackets and an assortment of colorful backpacks. There is a wave of excitement in the air as we search to find their names among the construction paper apples taped on the wall outside of their classroom.
Bouncy boys and girls fill the hallway. Their bodies ping back and forth like pinballs.
As the classroom door opens, their tiny hands clutch mine a little tighter. With a big hug, they walk through the door. Taking in the colors and chaos their heads turn my way for a second, and then they are off with a quick little wave.
It is an idyllic first goodbye, but our goodbyes came much too soon.
Three years may have passed, but still, I long for these milestones. In two weeks, I will send off my kids with kissing hands and butterfly kisses. All day, I will think about my ten children, from high school to elementary school and beyond.