He's always going to be my baby. At our wedding, Nipper's mom looked at me and absentmindedly said "well, I guess he's never coming back to Michigan now." Let me give you a little back story. Nipper had already lived in New York for 8 years, and Los Angeles for 4. We had met 8 months before. I turned stunned and backed slowly away. "Does she blame me?" "Did she really think he was coming back?" "I thought she liked me!"
My first day of school
The answer to those questions: NO, maybe, she does (a lot). It wasn't that she was really thinking "Oh, any day now, my baby boy Nipper Knapp is going to come back home and live with me Poppa". Nor would she have wanted that. It's just you know, he's her boy. And now I totally get it. I should also say that Nipper's mom is my model for how to be a mother in law. She is kind to me, respects my opinions, talks me like I'm one of her kids, and always takes my side over Nipper Knapp's (at least to my face, which is all I care about:).
Jack and Cleo's first day
That said, here's what happened when I dropped Jack off at school today. We met Cleo and Brett in the parking lot. So grateful to have an ally, and for Jack to have a friend there. We walked to their classroom, went in, looked around, said hello to the teachers, and then Brett, said "Bye Cleo, I'll see you in a few hours!" and left. Gulp. Ok, that's exactly what they said to do. Make it quick, be positive, DON'T CRY. I told Jack I was going to go, and Daddy would be back to pick him up in a few hours. He hugged me TIGHT, he hung his head a little, but he didn't cry. I whispered that he should "take care of Cleo today". Cleo who at that point was twirling and showing the teacher her pink painted fingernails. Uh, yeah...
I walked out, hugged Brett, talked to a few other moms, held it together, got in my car, and sobbed. I cried all the way home. I cried because I was so proud of him. I cried because he was brave, and didn't cry. I cried because I knew that even though he'll always be my baby, he's not a baby anymore. I cried because NPR was playing some BBC story about Natalie Merchant's song "Wonder". I hate this song, and this whole genre of music, but there I am crying my eyes out listening to it. Jaysus lord above, what has this kid done to me?! I pierced my nose with a safety pin, and a bottle of Southern Comfort, in a London hotel room at 15, I don't cry when I hear Natalie Merchant sing!!!
But I did. He's made me soft. Even though he's going to learn about volcanos, and dinosaurs, playground bullies, geometry, poetry, school lunches, carpooling, holding hands, heart break, college admissions, he'll always be my baby.