A few years ago I had a conversation with a neighbor about how quickly kids grow up.  I remember saying, “I am so glad I’m still in the fat crayon, Sesame Street, peanut butter and jelly stage.”  And I meant it.  I loved watching my little ones scribbling on paper or decorating a page with numerous stickers.  I loved drinking chocolate milk together, especially through silly straws.  When certain songs came on Sesame Street I sang along. 

My youngest, Yawlin, has outgrown that stage.  He started third grade last week and is so proud that a girl at school thought he was in the fifth grade.  He has “real” homework,  is a whiz at kickball, and recently made fudge over a campfire at cub scouts.  He hasn’t been interested in Sesame Street for a long time.  He will still eat the occasional peanut butter and jelly sandwich though.

I am grateful that Yawlin and I get to spend mornings together.  After getting dressed, eating breakfast, and brushing teeth we head out the door to my school crossing.  He waits in the car as I turn on the speed limit signs and set up my cones and then he reads to me for ten minutes.  He continues to read even when I get out of the car to cross kids.  As soon as 8:10 shows on the car clock we get out of the car together, Yawlin gives me a big hug and kiss, and I walk to the middle of the crosswalk.  Yawlin always stops in the middle and gives me another hug and kiss before continuing on his way to school.  I love it.

Today, as Yawlin was reading, one of Yawlin’s friends from school came walking down the sidewalk on the other side of the street.  I noticed that he had a cast on his arm.  I hollered out the window, “Hey A, what happened to your arm?”

A held his arm out and said, “I broke it.”

“Oh wow.  I bet that hurt.  When did that happen?”

“Yesterday.”

Yawlin had stopped reading five minutes too early.  He leaned over me to reach the window and yelled out, “A, do you want me to walk to school with you?”

“Sure,” came the reply.

I looked at Yawlin and said, “That’s fine, you can finish reading at home.”  We got out of the car.  Two other boys had reached the corner as well.  I walked to the middle of the crosswalk and waited for my customary hug and kiss.  Yawlin looked straight ahead and walked right past me.

Third grade.  The year you become too cool to kiss your mom in front of your friends.

Sniff.

I went home and drowned my sorrow in a glass of chocolate milk.

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