When you are the third child in a family that’s been homeschooling since before you were born, it’s a guarantee that, for better or worse, you’ll never be lonely. While my big two had Mommy as a constant companion and entertainment — Bay being the first and only for a bit, and Jolee when Bay went off to school — E had all of us, nearly all the time. His interest in me never held a candle to the two smaller, funnier, cooler people in the house. It was in those first couple of years that I realized the baby of the family isn’t rotten because of the parents, but rather because of the siblings that cater to their every whim. It’s not a rough life he’s lived, our preschooler.
But then the bigs decided to head to public school this year. I was excited for special one-on-one time with E that we’ve never had in bulk before, but how would he feel?
Last Wednesday morning is still a little bit of a blur. The teen and the tween went to their first day of school; Baylor’s first in six years, and Jolee’s first ever. With the whirlwind over, E and I got the car, got situated. I looked back and said, “You ready? Just you and me, today, kiddo.”
“YEP MOM, LET’S DO THIS.”
Our day was unremarkable by most standards: I was talked into heading directly from the drop off line to Chick-fil-A, where the kind lady behind the counter was also sweet-talked into making my child lunch at 8:30am, or as we call it, second breakfast. We played hide and seek, I spy, and he even talked me into sliding down that slide that was NOT built for me. From there it was a haircut, the pet store to get our pups a treat, the grocery store, and home for a bit before we were back in the school lines again.
Sitting and waiting for his big sister, E yawns loudly from the back seat. “Mommy, this has been the best day.”
He promptly fell asleep after that, but with little else to do other than wait, I sat and thought on what he had said. We didn’t do much, and yet it really had been great. But what had made it great? We were both present, I realized; focused on one another. Without the bigs around, I got bumped to the top spot. Does it count when it happens by default? Doesn’t matter, I’ll take it.
We took our sweet time, we talked about everything we saw. There was no one and nothing to fight, so the day was a breeze. It was good enough to just be, and to just be together. Aside from our one-on-one dates, this was E’s first taste of the singular kid life, and he ate it up like second breakfast. So did I.
The kids were excited to be reunited, and with plenty to tell one another after a day apart. They came piling in the car, bearing gifts in the form of chocolate. They had E bent over laughing. I watched my name get bumped down the scoreboard, but I didn’t mind at all. Seeing the people you love the most love each other, that’s winning.
Besides, I had the next day, and the next. And the week after that. On and on until next summer, all stretched out before us, full of possibility. Some days will be more eventful than that first (Mama’s got some tricks up her sleeve), and some less (Mama would also love a nap occasionally). My great big hope is that we get lots of bests in before he’s off on his own school adventures. It’ll be here in no time, like we moms know too well it always is.