"Mumma you can just drop me off."
My eldest tells this to me from the back seat of the truck on the way to school.
He wanted me to do what I call the drive by drop off. To pull into those diagonal yellow lines beside the school building that's intended for parents in a rush to get their children off to school. Not because they don't care. But because they have somewhere to be. Like their workplace.
But my job is with my children. Always. So why would I do that? When I could stand around and watch him play in the fenced in supervised play area with his buddies until his little brother crankily protests his wishes for home.
I had to do the drive by drop off once before last month. When Finley was sick and I had to get him to the doctor's. It was cold and windy and simply not a good day to have him out in that weather for any length of time.
Oh the guilt when I watched the back of him enter his playground gates. The voice inside me berating with a tsk tsk.
He's too young, too little.
And you're totally being judged.
By those playground teachers. And the parents that care enough to stick around.
What kind of mother are you anyway?
What kind of mother am I anyway?
Such a complicated question with an answer I'm not sure I'll ever know.
"You want me to go to the drop off zone? You don't want me to walk you to the gate?"
"Yes. Drop me off on those lines." Those blaring yellow "uncaring" lines.
I had about 1 minute to mull over his request before the school came into view.
"Are you sure?"
This was on his terms. His request. My eldest who will be the giant age of five in a handful of weeks.
I could see the ghost of his umbilical cord unravelling at an uncontrollable rate.
I desperately wanted to clutch at it.
It's been gone for almost five years now. Logically my mind is far too hyper aware of this fact. My husband cut it on February 3, 2008 and that shrivelled brown crusty stump that fell off within 3 days? Well I wasn't sentimental (or weird) enough to keep it.
But the ghost of it haunts me. And taunts me, especially in times like these.
I pull up to those bright blaring yellow lines silently getting annoyed at the person ahead that didn't pull up far enough.
My heart dropped into my stomach.
"Okay buddy. You have to promise me if you want to get dropped off here that you must give me one big smooch."
And with that he unbuckled his seat, slid his backpack on, leaned forward for that bittersweet kiss and opened the door to leave.
"I'll be here until you get into the gates. Have fun! I love you!"
He jumped out of the truck. He didn't say I love you too. I call it out to him.
"I love you!!"
"Love you too."
The truck door shuts.
He steps up onto the sidewalk and without a glance back he walks into the gates of the school yard.
I linger for a moment. The tears threaten but do not spill.
The emotions that trample through my heart and mind conflict.
Yes, I was a tiny bit heartbroken. It didn't matter to him if I was there or not. But more than the ache I felt proud. My independent little soul. What a wonderful, beneficial trait to have.
That is what I choose to celebrate.
And with my heart strings pulled tighter than ever, the ghost of the cord faded even more I pulled away from those not so scary yellow lines with a last glance back at my son who was now playing happily with friends.