Nine days until my youngest will strap on his Storm Trooper backpack, loaded with crayons and glue sticks, and walk into kindergarten and the rest of his life.
Nine days until I drive the empty car home to the rest of my life.
I keep hearing, “So what are you going to do now that both the kids will be in school?”
I’ll tell you what I’m not going to do. I’m not going to referee fights over the PS4 controllers or who’s going to be the lead singer of the “band” or who gets to keep the nickel from the couch. I’m not going to prepare snacks every two seconds or pick up microscopic craft debris. I’m not going to drop what I’m doing to take a video of their latest antics and argue over whether it should go on YouTube.
I’m not going to do that for seven hours a day, five days a week. I’m taking back every one of those 1,116 hours.
I’ll be able to spend time writing. I’ll actually finish those projects and submit them. I’ll exercise again. I may even keep the house tidy.
I had a taste of delicious freedom last year during the few precious hours a week that my youngest son’s preschool aligned with my oldest son’s kindergarten schedule. Angels sang that first day, and light streamed from the heavens onto the chair where I like to write.
“Come,” the chair said, or maybe that was me, summoning my pup to snuggle. Either way, I wrote in silent bliss before sunset for the first time since I had left my job four years earlier.
On the days when my youngest was not in preschool, he got me all to himself for the first time in his life. We hit every park. Did every craft. Read every book.
I have no regrets as I ship him off to school along with his older brother.
Sure, my eyes may mist as the boys walk away. I’ll look back on the years I sacrificed my career with fondness and gratitude. I got to witness every step in their lives, for better or worse, and someday I’ll miss those moments.
But now that they’re starting to spread their little wings, I’m not thinking about that. At least not 10 days out. I’m too busy dusting off wings of my own.
Follow freelance writer Lindsay Hanson Metcalf on Twitter: @hansonmetcalf