Youngest has been working diligently on his driving skills lately, so I haven’t been doing a lot of the actual driving to school for a few months now. But most days, he and I have piled into the car together and, with varying levels of affability that depend entirely on how close we get to being killed on the way, get ourselves to school.
Early this morning I realized, with something of a start, that today would be, in all probability, the last last day of school to which I would ever drive carpool.
After the first little start of panic, and the sadness that welled up, I thought, “I’m lucky. Lucky to see it coming.”
That’s not just me, in denial. Really.
Well, maybe just a touch.
But the true thing is that, most of the time, the endings of motherhood, they come and go and it is only much, much later that you realize that something has ended. Take the last time I went trick-or-treating with Youngest. Came and went in a crazy sugar haze. I didn’t realize that particular bit of mothering was over until the NEXT year, when he made it clear that well, he loved me and all, but he, um, just really didn’t want my company when he headed out with his friends, into the dark.
While Youngest was showering, Mate asked about my day, and I said, “Well, after I take Youngest to school…”
He interrupted me abruptly, “I’ll take him.”
I shook my head. “I’m taking him.”
“But I WANT to take him!”
“It’s the last day of school!”
“I know. And you have to give this to me. It’s what I get.”
“I want to take him,” he reiterated, determination firming his tone.
“You can’t. You owe it to me.”
He was in a fightin’ mood. “I don’t owe you anything.”
“Well, you don’t owe me much, but you do owe me this.”
Perhaps sensing there was no victory for him in any forseeable future, he took another tack. “Let’s both take him.”
“We can’t. It’s too weird.”
Slightly desperate, he cried, “Sometimes parents get things for themselves!”
“I know. But not this. It’s too much to put on him.”
And because I married a sweet and gracious man (and wise! Did I say wise?), he threw in the towel.
So Youngest headed out to the car…
So I got in and we drove down our street. And I asked him to take my picture without telling him why.
But I know one thing.
I’m the lucky one.