It seems like only yesterday that I was writing about his time before first grade. His heart full, his head ready, my heart saying no and skipping a beat. That was a year ago and in that span of time, he has somehow grown into even more of a man.
He rides his bike up and down the sidewalk – solo and flying into freedom. He entertains himself with greater ease – finding solace in the simple. He asks inquisitive questions, but also seems somehow more knowledgeable than even last week.
He is ready. For the next year, the next adventure, the next teacher, and new friends. He heads off to school for Open House with a skip in his step – readying himself to pursue another year at his desk and learning more about this world that somehow just seems to get bigger to him.
So why is it, that when he seems so ready, I am transported to simpler times in Target’s underwear aisle? We headed off to there this week – set on snagging essential school supplies and finalizing the checkmarks on his list. I thought that now was as good a time as any to grab the essentials that are not on the school sheet, but that he so desperately needs – socks and underwear. The socks were the simple choice – size and the style he loves.
But the underwear. That’s where we both sort of stopped.
Boxers or briefs? I won’t share what he picked, but he labored over this choice.
And now for the design. We never really made it to the plain pairs and this is where my heart seemed to pause. He’s not ready – he wants whimsy and characters and cute.
And in this one moment – in the underwear aisle – I closed my eyes to capture in time that single solitary moment where I was still so sure of his innocence.
Where his most difficult choice was Angry Birds or Star Wars. Where he exercised autonomy in one choice. Where I tried to capture this single moment in the time because it just might be the last time.
The last time he decides that characters on underwear is the way to go. Where his folder choices are not dictated by what society says he “should” like. Where he looks forward to school with an eager anticipation that is both intoxicating and intimidating.
It could be the last time.
You never really know when it’s the last time, ya know? One moment, you’re in the Target underwear aisle choosing your favorite character, and the next, you’re opting for plain and simple. And one decision somehow grows you up before you know it.
Will this be the year he doesn’t look back when I drop him at the door? Will it be the last time he runs out from the school day and leaps into my arms and chattering about his day?
Is it the last time?
You’re never sure, you never know, but I am positive that Second Grade will be his best year yet – full of firsts and hopefully with not too many lasts.
And until then, I’ll be savoring every moment of this school year because you are never truly sure if it is the last time you will squeeze this underwear innocence so tightly.