The bus just took my Plum off to start the 2nd semester, the beginning of the end of kindergarten. I was tempted to pretend I didn’t know the date, forgot that school started again today. Our home is too quiet without the giggles of this little boy, the crashing about as he searches in his toy rom for just the right weapon, the shouts for me as he wakes. He exhausts me, uses up every ounce of energy, I long for my bed mid afternoon most days when he is here. Snacks that seem to come just after dishes are done from the last meal, crayons scattered about the dining room rather than his art table, couch cushions endlessly needing adjusting, I can never rest. As soon as the beasts finally lay down, he erupts in laughter or a race around the room, they come alive again and begin battling, chaos ensues. I should welcome the bus, delight in the sight of that orange vehicle stopping at the end of our driveway. Yet I am tempted to wave the driver on, keep our little noisemaker for another day.
Plum discovered a really annoying game that he and Chef play on the tv, something that is ridiculous with music that makes my head hurt. I sit in the other room while they goad each other and trash talk, cackles and shouts of triumph filling the air. My little boy who used to delight in gran time, baking and cleaning, now drives monster vehicles up hills and crashes to get more points than his grandfather. I try to tempt him into mopping the floor, dusting the furniture, instead he slides around the wet tile and practices his cool falls. He is turning into a boy, full of testosterone. He doesn’t want to be hugged at the bus stop, he rebuffs my attempts to cuddle when he bumps his knee. No longer little, he is growing and every attempt to push him back into my little boy is thwarted. He loves all the time with grandpa now, they talk about farting and butts and think they are hilarious. I stay in the other room. Still, when I snuck away to my bed for a nap, he lined the hallway from his room to mine with candy canes and set up a complex trap for me to find in his room with various figurines, marbles, bionicles, and blocks. Then he woke me to play, unable to wait for me to discover his evil plan. He wanted some gran time after all.
The music of his tinkling giggles, this child’s delight lures me closer, like bells at Christmas or the ice cream truck melody. You just know that this sound holds joy. My mood, my energy is always lightened, I want more. His chatters, his songs, talking to no-one and anyone, I want to hear every word, I am his willing audience to it all. Encore please, chatter some more. Stay home with gran, I will listen to it all. Yet the bus comes and he gets on, his teacher will hear his chatter. Our home is quiet.
I wonder as the bus pulls away if the driver realizes how precious he is, if his teacher knows she has an amazing child in her midst. Can anyone see this boy and not feel awe? The driver has many children, just as the teacher does. Maybe his giggles aren’t music to them, lost in the cacophony of so many. So we wait for his return. We clean up crayons, return weapons to the toy room and rest up. He will bring his music back, each time with added vocabulary and greater math skills. His voice will grow deeper, he will grow taller. Yet his gran and gramps will always be here, his oh so willing audience, listening for the sound of our joy returning.