“Nels. Hogaboom!” Mrs. Lenss says from her position in front of the stage. It’s the end-of-the-year graduation performance at my son’s preschool. Three different classes perform songs and receive their “diplomas”. The room is crammed with family and friends – and my son is the one child the entire night to be chastised during the proceedings. At this, in the very back of the room my mother, husband and I snicker. Nels is telling a story to C., the beautiful, near-silent girl with long dark hair and big blue eyes. I can’t tell if she’s listening attentively or not. Nels’ arms move out from his shoulders and we see he’s saying something is “this big“. His face glows as as he leans toward her smiling, he tosses the hair out of his eyes and confidently fiddles with his cap. It’s hard to believe only thirty minutes ago he and I were in the bathroom in the sundappled tub, and he was naked, sleepy, and yawning. He has his second wind.
Nels is now kindergarten age. And poof, just like that, seven years of co-op school and all it has meant to me is behind me. Sophie was only nine months old, just starting to walk, when we first enrolled (and of course, Nels has attended since birth). I will never forget the experience of co-op school and I will be actively looking for, creating, or pining for the experience for my (now officially school-age) children. I’ve spent long hours and life’s blood helping run these little schools; tonight after the proceedings are over I don’t stay to help, I merely step out the door and into the sunlight, seeing my children off to their grandmother for a sleepover, swinging the old green vinyl case into her pickup. Driving off with my husband who in this moment probably doesn’t know I’m feeling sad in that way we do: my little community lost to me, our children growing up so, so fast.
After dinner with friends Ralph and I attend the new Star Trek movie because, deep in his heart, my husband loves science fiction. He doesn’t follow it nor obsess about it but it captures his interest. At home we’ve been watching the original Star Trek television series on Netflix (which is far better than I’d realized!).
And what can I say, Spock turns me on. It’s not the actors who play him (this current young version nor the iconic Leonard Nimoy); it’s the character itself. His incorruptible nature, a competency in his life’s work, an existance almost entirely self-validated. That’s me in real life, too: attracted to the independent, the hermitty, yes, the nerdy – and virginal, or seemingly so. If I was serving on the Enterprise I’d have it bad – but in my fashion, maintain a well-behaved and completely undetectable crush.
Home and my house seems sedate, well-ordered – and lonely. The sight of Nels’ bath, still undrained, and I feel blue. This morning my children awoke at the same time and came down to the kitchen (I was making bagels) and as one put their arms around me silently. I put my hands on their clean, soft blond heads and marveled at what is mine to love and enjoy, made only the more bittersweet by the knowledge that nothing is permanent. Put together they are lots of kid; their bodies are growing and they gain strength. Their time on earth opens up for them daily; sometimes I feel like mine is only winding down.