The Boy professes to hate school. In a remarkable paradox,he also wants to be the first person to set foot inside the building as soon as the doors are open to students. If he can slip in any earlier, so much the better. The motivation baffles. This morning he was sent to shower in hopes of killing off a few more minutes before the inevitable impatience and potential countdown until time to leave kicked in to drive everyone else in the household to the brink of sanity. (I remember wondering how the Autism unit teachers kept themselves from looniness after observing a whole room of AU boys counting down to lunch, a field trip, and the assorted other markers of time that divided their days. It is reassuring to know that other AU kids have this irritating habit, and we are not alone in the this off-kilter, structured world.) Bicycle tires needed air which took some more precious minutes off the countdown. He hunted for his phone for a while. Then he tried to be patient, but the pressure was palpable.
Middle Child marked this day of passage with a series of photos. She obliged her mother who wanted a longer series than was reasonable because Mom needed to stop time for a brief moment today. The images that appeared startling when compared to the accustomed images of sweet-faced infant, the inquisitive four-year-old, or the careful pre-adolescent Kate who now inhabit only memory. Kate's photographer snapped away thanks to a fascination with the emerging young woman at the end of the lense. The mother feels the burn of tears and cannot fully understand how this person could be her baby, but the photographer's eye is fascinated by the slowly unfolding bloom of youth taking place with such rapidity that the shutter can hardly keep up.
Thankfully, the moment finally arrived for our two eldest children to strap on their helmets. ("I'm more interested in protecting your brains than in preserving your hairstyle.") A few more photos to mark Evan's final year and Katie's first day of Middle School. Evan was growing increasingly anxious, but we continued to hold him suspended for another moment to reiterate the after-school meeting place for them. With a final reminder to "Come straight home..." (with an unspoken, "... so I will know you are safe, and can hear about the world you are inhabiting away from the staid, safety of our home.), I watched them wheel away even as our youngest child slid seamlessly into her "Look at me!" role asking for her photos to be taken on the front lawn even as I took a final shot of the Eldest disappearing around a curve in the street.
Erin smiled and pouted for an assortment of obligatory back-to-school shots. She then determined that mosquitoes had hatched courtesy of two weeks worth of rain puddles, and she was done with me. Eventually, she did agree to a few final photos of her on her bike. I suspect she could outride the winged stingers that made still shots so unappealing. Photo-session complete, Don and I hopped on our bikes to ride with Erin for her first-ever solo day of school. She has had Kate in elementary with her every year prior to this one, but a catch formed in my throat this morning as the idea occured that she will never attend school with either sibling again because she will lag just enough behind their world to create her own despite the likelihood of name recognition associated with the earnest, bright , work-a-holic sister, and the mercurial, brilliant, unmotivated brother who proceed her.