School starts tomorrow. Our oldest will go off to second grade and our middle daughter will have her first day of school at kindergarten. Then it will just be me and my three year old, who holds a strong belief that she is a puppy (which seriously is the cutest thing when she decides to wag her tail). My head is looking forward to the peace of those hours during the day. It has been a tumultuous summer having all three very energetic little girls home and me at their beck and call. This summer we celebrated four birthdays, Wyatt's, our oldest and mine in June and the little one just turned three a few weeks ago. We attended a parade and fireworks for the Fourth of July. We blew countless bubbles, walked endless miles, our oldest ditched her training wheels, the youngest learned to ride bike and scooter, we decorated our concrete with sidewalk chalk frequently and all three girls took swimming lessons for the first time. There have been days much cooler than normal which stunted my garden and has left me hopeful for next year already, days when it was already dripping wet at 6am and far far too much water this summer. I have been a constant referee and find discipline a formidable challenge.
Tomorrow that will change. My head is ready for this, it needs the silence, the time for reflection and possibly even the extra space to grieve. That perhaps moving that one extra child out of the house for a few hours each day will allow me space to grieve the one child whose absence will be especially stark for a while now. "It wasn't supposed to be this way" my heart says. I had been so excited at the timing of Eli's pregnancy. We would have had a beautiful summer together, all of us bonding and enjoying the new little life who would change before our eyes every day and also change us. Then I would send the older two off to school and it would be me and my youngest two, keeping the status quo.
But that's not reality and over these last few months I have come to accept that. Instead of living under the sadness of what should be I will do my best to enjoy what I have, which is a beautiful little girl who is so easy and so deserving of this time alone. We are going to have a great year together. Perhaps next year will be different.