A sleepy good morning, a sloppy kiss, a couple of reminders to turn the shower off. Finding a sock, packing a box and coaxing to have one more bite of the toast. The diurnal charades of filling lunches and matching hairbands with the Tees have lost their charm in their eternal continuity. What I really want is a steaming hot cup of tea and a place by the window to soak in the delights. There used to be days when all this was fun, the frantic mornings; not anymore.
The backpack is ready, shoelaces are tied, not a short time has passed since the alarm was turned off, yet the steaming cup of tea, still eludes me. Not that I am particularly fond of all the other chores, what I absolutely detest these days is the dropping off part. Hardly a two minute walk from the home to the school, but I am ready to give it up for a moment to be alone.
“Mommy, it’s time to go” she pulls my hand and leads me to the door. Without a word I fall in step, a rhythm that has been hard to break. Her hand no longer that of a small child, unconsciously looks for and grips mine. A fierce hug and half a goodbye, always a glance back as she rushes through the school doors. She has grown taller, a year older and wiser too. I yearn to catch my breath, before the sibling stands in tow, expecting her to walk on her own, just like a bunch of classmates. Instead I see a little girl, stubbornly refusing to grow up.
One such morning, we walk hand in hand. Half a year has passed and an alteration takes place. She races through the doors without a reverse scan. With a sharp pain I realized she was ready to leave me behind.
Today, as I see it now, is not the same as that day. Mornings are still chaotic but I am glad to hear the shout that tells me it was time to step out. The soft hand that pulls me along, sways side by side, playful and earnest, without a hesitating halt. And every moment is precious because its end is so near.
She takes a stride, a bit too long, making the walk even shorter by long. She hugs me swiftly, an eye already someplace else, and all I see is my little girl, growing up way too fast. I wish I could hold on, just one second more, or re-live those million moments starting the day we brought her home. But call it a miracle or call it a curse, what is done for once, cannot be un-done.