Monday, September 13, 2010

My Clean Slate

Owen finally started preschool today. It was about a week later than everybody else. It makes sense, since it's a Catholic school.

They're always a bit behind the times.

I kid.

It's a wonderful place, with caring teachers, big jars of tempura paint, and kid-size nooks and crannies. For three days a week, Owen gets to live in a larger world, one that belongs solely to him.

I wasn't prepared to feel any emotion about this. It's the same school, with most of the same friends as last year. It's preschool, for Pete's sake. 

But--My God--where is my baby?

He already looks like the man he will be someday. The soft cheeks, the dimpled elbows--they belong to the son of my memories.

I thought he was so big when he was two---the age Joel is right now.

I didn't know that he could be so protective. 

Or such a caring, trusted friend.
I watch my inquisitive first-born discover his world, and kiss him goodbye.

When I pick him up three hours later, I ask, "Which friend did you like seeing the most?"

He replies, "You, Mommy."

When Owen was just a distant hope, I taped this poem to the wall by my desk at work.

Every time I read it, I dreamed of being a mother:


by Sylvia Plath

Clownlike, happiest on your hands,   
Feet to the stars, and moon-skulled,   
Gilled like a fish. A common-sense   
Thumbs-down on the dodo’s mode.   
Wrapped up in yourself like a spool,   
Trawling your dark as owls do.   
Mute as a turnip from the Fourth   
Of July to All Fools’ Day,
O high-riser, my little loaf.

Vague as fog and looked for like mail.   
Farther off than Australia.
Bent-backed Atlas, our traveled prawn.   
Snug as a bud and at home   
Like a sprat in a pickle jug.   
A creel of eels, all ripples.   
Jumpy as a Mexican bean.   
Right, like a well-done sum.   
A clean slate, with your own face on.

My Owen. My son.  My beautiful clean slate.


Anonymous said...

Aww. Sweet little boys. I hope he has a great first week. How they grow... Love what he said about his favorite friend. AWWWWWWW!

MiMi said...

This post makes me cry...I know exactly what you mean and it's just adorable. Heart breaking and happy at the same time.

Anonymous said...

sniff, sigh. Beautiful. Just right.

Michelle Pixie said...

I just melted! What a sweet little boy you have and adorable to boot. Now I have to go squeeze my kids. :)

Anonymous said...

"You, mommy" - I swoon. He is going to be a great man someday.

clearness said...

What color is the paint on your wall in the first few photos? Looks like a good color.....can I see more photos of the color?

And of course the kids are 100 different kinds of adorable!

Eternal Lizdom said...

Little boys are certainly something special, aren't they?

Salt said...

Stop making me cry, Nancy!!!
I love these pictures. He looks so handsome on his first day.

And I totally thought Joel's shirt said "The Devil" at first.

Ms. Moon said...

I hope my Owen, my grandson, grows up to be as sweet a boy as your Owen.
What a love!

SamiJoe said...

Which friend did you enjoy seeing most??
You, Mommy!


Anonymous said...

Aw, "You mommy"! How sweet is that!!

Grimmgirl said...

Very sweet post. I read, "He already looks like the man he will be someday," and thought, oh, there's a poem in there, and then scrolled down to the Plath poem (love her!), and see you are thinking along those lines, too. Write your own with the line above -- it's great.

The Blogging Goddess said...

As usual, you wrote something that was beautiful. Stop it, will you?

The Drama Mama said...

Oh my, he's SO sweet!! I love the pictures.

Matty said...

Before you know it, you'll be sending him off to college. Time flies. My three children are grown, so I speak from experience. Take lots of pictures.

singedwingangel said...

Aww I miss when my youngest started school. Your boys are adorable.. found ya at Erin's place

Erin said...

You just had to throw that Sylvia Plath quote in there, didn't you? Did we already discuss The Bell Jar is my favorite book ever? this post made me cry. And it's not that time of the month, either.

Anonymous said...

*small snicker*

You know it's funny, you write this sweet and touching post about your son going off....and I couldn't wait til my sons went off!

I think I'm missing something here.

The boat?

hee hee

Joann Mannix said...

I've been reading all the sweet songs that mommy bloggers have been writing these past few weeks to their little ones and every time, they make me cry, remembering those lovely days. Your clean slate was a beautiful tribute, indeed.

My girls were that pint-sized and full of great, squashing hugs, I swear, it was just yesterday.

But not really.

My oldest girl is in her 2nd year of college. These days you have will whoosh by with the strength of a Cat 5 hurricane. Trust me on this. Through your words, I can tell you are taking great care with each one of those precious days. Enjoy.

Elaine A. said...

I have yet to post about my "baby" boy preschooler who started last week. But I did already create a comparison picture for the post of when he went last year to this year and he as grown SO much!! It's crazy how much they change right before our eyes.

He's adorable and the pic of him hugging his friend is just too sweet. I hope he has a great year!

shortmama said...

Beautiful! Why do they have to grow up??!!

Maggie May said...

i completely understand the emotion behind this, especially your last few sentences. i know.

StarTraci said...

My baby girl started preschool last week. Part of me is exuberant for twelve hours of peace and part of me is absolutely destroyed that she runs into class without even a goodbye.

He is a very handsome, grown-up looking boy. And I love, Love, LOVE the poem. But I really love that you are his favorite friend!

Congrats, Owen and congrats, Mom.


Aging Mommy said...

Oh what a beautifully written post Nancy. Owen really does look so very grown up next to his brother and you can see the man he will be and how he will look too I agree. So many changes, so very fast.

An Imperfect Momma said...

So sweet! Love the poem btw great choice:)

fanderson said...

Enjoy it!! My boys are now 3rd and 4th grade and I miss my babies!! They have so much fun at school and recess I would pay to be a fly on the wall! This gave me memories of when they were little!! So adorable and now I'm afraid to blink and miss them growing up! What a fun loving Mom!!

Erin said...

OMG your boys remind me so much of my own! SCARY!!

And why is it the older one looks so young and innocent until you put a little brother next to him? haha

Ash said...

The hugs. Oh the sweet hugs. Get me every stinkin time. Doing a great job, mommy.

Melani said...

Great post and your boys are so adorable!