All In

I sat in my driveway and cried tonight.  It was back to school back pack night for 4/5 of the herd.  The first fifth is in junior high this year and they don’t do back pack night.  They’re all in school starting Monday.

Every. Last. One.

Well, not really.  But, really.

But not.

That’s my brain lately.  I have too many thoughts, too many feels.  I thought I had back to school fairly well under control from an emotional standpoint and I rocked the back to school physical prep.  We went to back pack night, drove home to pick up the pooch, and Brig left with the kids for some daddy time while I went off to a back to school ladies’ night at church.  Well, that’s how it was supposed to be.

When we pulled into the driveway, L2 started whining about everything.  Seriously, she’d been doing it all day, but this was ridiculous.  She couldn’t speak without whining, crying, and/or yelling.  I finally turned, looked at her, and asked what in the world was going on.

“I don’t know!”, she sobbed.

You’re a bit worried about starting kindergarten, aren’t you? “Yes!”.  More sobs.  I jumped out of the van whipped her out of the backseat and into my arms.  She was immediately laughing and her worry seemed to disappear.  She was passed between Brig and I as we offered words of encouragement, love, and lots of snuggles.

I then got into the car as everyone else got back in the van.  Brig came to the window and then it was my turn to sob.

“I should come with you!  We should go together!  I just don’t know what to do.  I feel like I should be there.  Not every night is back pack night dinner out!”

Brig reassured me that I should go to the church activity, that he needed time with the kids sometimes, that everything would be okay, and I should go have fun.  I knew he was right, but that didn’t make it easier.  Nevertheless, I went.

It was fun, but I was distracted the entire time.  Thoughts of back to school, a quiet house, and my baby girl being in kindergarten swamped my already foggy head.  How can summer be over already?  I was going to do so much this summer.  We all were!  Camping trips, Chicago vacation, sports, and so much more.

Instead, we home bodied it most of summer.  I just couldn’t.  We just couldn’t.  We still had fun, just close to home.

Note:  It’s now a day  later than when I started writing this post.  I got to this point and couldn’t form another thought.  Not one more sentence would come together.  I stared at the screen until my eyes started to feel heavy and I couldn’t focus anymore.  Nothing came.  I still don’t have a good, clever way to wrap this post up.  So, I’m doing this.

This is grief.  This is life.  This is back to school with five kids and an empty house when it shouldn’t be.  It’s sleepless nights, derailed thoughts, broken dreams, and quiet halls.  This is the last time I send someone to kindergarten.  A year ago, I briefly pondered what I would get done in a day three years from then when all my lovies were off at school.  Oh, the space and cleanliness I’d reclaim!  Now, I just want his blankie in the hall, his balls, cars, pens, and papers all over, and his grubby hand prints on all the windows.  That three years seemed like such a long time.  I dreamt about all of the things those three years held, all the adventures in store.  This was to be my year to have one kid at home for the first time in over 11 years.  Bub and I were going to have a blast!

My house will be quiet come 9am on Monday and all I can think to do is go back to bed.  I suppose after 8.5 months, that may very well be what I need.  My bed, the quiet, and some time in the space where, if I listen closely, I can still hear him call for me as his blankie drags behind him while he walks across the hall towards my room.

-Jenelle

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