I knew this was going to be a tough morning.  After the morning I had yesterday and the realization that I was anxious about today, I knew it would be a rough ride to school.

To middle school.

Aaron, our first-born, walked into 6th Grade today alongside about 1,000 other kids.  No lie.  He handled the experience with extreme class and calm.

I, however, did not.

You knew I wouldn’t.

I took his picture this morning in order to text my mom with his “look” for today so that she can spot him in afternoon carpool.  Her reply text caught me off-guard, as she commented how grown-up he looked, and how proud she is.  Then she quoted Aaron’s baby phrase and wrote, “’But I crying’ tears of joy.”

Let me just say that This. Completely. Did. Me. In.

Thanks, Mom.  😉

So there I was, at a red light just a block off the interstate stifling sobs over what little I read of the pop-up on my phone, and we still had several blocks to go.  I tried to calm my voice and casually comment that I hoped Aaron had a great day at school.

“I will.”

“Oh, I know you will, sweetie.  Just know that I will be [sniff] thinking of [sniff, sniff] you [sniff] all day [sniff, sniff].

“I know.”

He knows so much.  But does he know that when I think of him, I still see this?

And this…

And this…

Those are my timestamps.  My mental slide-show of his life so far.   My slideshow that now includes this…

As we caravanned into the carpool drop-off line at the school, I shoved eight bucks at him “just in case” and told him that I love him.  He said he loved me too.  All I could see as he opened the door was the back of his little head over that huge backpack, stuffed to the gills with 2” binders in assorted colors.  I asked if he had his lunchbox.

“Yes.  Bye.”  And with that, he disappeared into a swarming sea of middle school children.  No longer could I see my baby boy walk into the school building and know that he was safe.  I couldn’t even see his head bobbing through the crowd.  Just a steadily-changing stream of  kids I’d never seen before.

I pulled through the rest of the carpool line, made the turn and cried like a baby.  And this played in my head:

A co-worker who saw her youngest of six ride off to high school today profoundly stated that it’s not the firsts that do her in anymore.  It’s the lasts.

I cannot even go there yet.