One of Bridget's favorite new conversations to have over and over with me is the one about how when she goes to kindergarten in the fall, I'll be ALL BY MYSELF and WHAT WILL I DO WITHOUT HER. And then she laughs gleefully, because she is so excited for kindergarten. She has this conversation when we hang out folding laundry, when we make lunch, when we eat lunch, and whatever other opportunities she can find to point out that before long, I will be all alone.
Thanks, Bee. Thanks for that.
It's true, though; this fall will be the first fall since 2002 that I won't have a child to hang out with all or most of the day. They'll get on the bus and I won't spend an hour three mornings a week driving to and from/to and from to pick anyone up from preschool. I'll make lunches the night before for everyone but myself, and likely do laundry without anyone chattering nearby. I won't have to strategize so carefully as to how I'll fit in a run or a trip to the grocery store. I won't be so easily able to put off the trip to the grocery store until I can just take either Gracie or Bridget with me (I stopped taking Maddie to the grocery store long ago, because while she might be fun on other errands, grocery shopping is not yet one of them).
I will be all alone.
It's more than hard to believe that ten years have passed since my career as a SAHMama began.
And even harder to believe that we're almost completely across a line that once seemed so very far away.
All of this is to explain why today, Bridget and I decided on the spur of the moment (as in, ten minutes from showtime) to eat popcorn for lunch and go see a movie at the Capitol Cinema. I picked her up from school at regular time, we ran over to the library to pick up a book that came in on hold, we ran over to the jewelry shop to get my engagement ring repaired, and we were on our way home when she reminded me that we hadn't seen Beauty and the Beast yet. We had talked about going, but as things often go around here we hadn't gotten around to it yet. I pulled over on a side street to check Fandango's schedule—was it playing tomorrow? And found that actually, today was our last chance. And if we wanted to make it, we had to get over there in ten minutes. No lunch, me in my running clothes, and various other things waiting at home.
We decided to go.
It was one of those decisions that immediately earns you five gold stars and the peace of mind of knowing you've done something completely, positively perfect. Being a parent is often riddled with uncertainty when it comes to doing one thing or another, and sitting down in the theater with our 3D glasses—knowing not another person we knew in the world knew where we were right then—was as far from that icky feeling of uncertainty as one could get.
There were other people in the theater, but no one as happy as us. I don't have many opportunities like this left with Bridget. Of course there are thousands of adventures still to be had with Maddie and Gracie, but none will come at 12:35 on a regular Thursday with only popcorn for sustenance. It's really true what all the crazed women with the odd expressions tell you when you have a sweet four month old baby in a carseat at Target—it just goes by so fast.