Max starts kindergarten in four days. Four days. Four. Days.
It's not as if I have progressed along the path of being Max's mom for the last four and three quarters years without being aware that he would, someday, sashay off into the world and start kindergarten. But now that it is not happening in the hazy someday future, but can officially be moved into the category of 'imminent', I find that I am not coping as gracefully as one would hope of oneself. Today we went shopping for back-to-school supplies (Iron Man backpack + crayons + Mario t-shirt = ready for success, as far as Max is concerned). On the way to the counter to buy our loot, we walked through the aisle that has all the baby stuff, and I was suddenly struck by the fact that I would never need to buy any of the things surrounding me for the gigantically tall boy walking beside me ever again. Instead of diapers or bottles or baby food or extra-soft cloths, we are looking for pencils and notebooks and backpacks with the coolest superhero on the front of them. Only the narrowest sliver of self-respect and control stood in the way of my fellow shoppers witnessing an ugly scene involving me weeping over the preemie diapers whilst clutching Max to my bosom and singing 'If I Could Catch Time In A Bottle'. (I totally don't know the words to 'If I Could Catch Time In A Bottle', and actually the only reason I know that the song exists at all is because of a hazily-remembered episode of 'The Muppet Show' in which someone -- Professor Honeydew, maybe? -- actually experiments with putting time in a bottle and gets progressively younger as the song progresses, but I could freestyle that stuff. I find that if you are staring down the barrel of a hysterical crying fit in the middle of a crowded diaper aisle, you sweat the more minor embarrassment of mixing up lyrics much less than you might otherwise.)
Max has had several meltdowns of his own (less embarrassing than mine, but no more logical or predictable in nature -- one of them yesterday was about the slight warping of an old ratty bucket handle at preschool), but on the whole he is excited to begin his new big boy adventures. I think he will enjoy himself and I know that he is ready for bigger challenges and more intellectual stimulus and even, gulp, more independence from his mama. I am, despite my wailing and beating my breast in the diaper aisle at Target, very excited to watch yet another petal in the remarkable flower that is Max unfurl itself and taste the world. I just wish I could let him do his thing AND keep him close by me, for protection and comfort and care, both at the same time. Maybe I could just, I don't know, hide under his desk at school or something? Just for the first three or four years?