My youngest son goes to full-day Kindergarten today. My oldest begins middle school. I can remember when my first headed off for pre-school and we packed his blanket in his bag, his slightly-too-large, golden blond head peering over the side at the little square of security that was to go with. When he walked in he had a tentative look in his eye, but a steady gait and I thought, “Maybe if you have to take your woobie with you, you are too young to go to school.” I was wrong, of course. They had a train table and blocks and his first chosen friend, William.
At dinner on Sunday I voiced the thought that had been bouncing around in my head. “Every day now, from 8 until 3:30 I will be here alone.” All three boys and Mr. Blandings stared back at me, momentarily speechless. Being at home alone is not something of which any of us has much experience. “What will you do?” one asked, and then they started filling my days with wonders only they could imagine. “You could watch Sponge Bob ALL DAY.” “And eat Skittles.” “Or popsicles, I would eat popsicles all day.” “You won’t be alone, you’ll have Rosie.”
And what we could all sense is that it is a big transition. Alone, for all of us, has both positive and negative connotations. What is the point of watching Sponge Bob and eating Skittles all day if there’s no one there to eat the green ones for you?
While cleaning up, Mr. Blandings assured me that if I got lonely he would come home for lunch to keep me company. I’m not one who has usually equated being alone with loneliness. I’m afraid that I will be busy, but fruitless, so anxious to do so many things that have been on the back burner for the last twelve years that I will just be in a limbo of false starts.
Mr. Blandings’s routine will not change. He has always walked in around six to find us at home practicing, studying, horsing around and on the rare occasion, cooking. The rest of us, me and the boys start the day with a bit of excitement and trepidation. All prepared and all wondering, “What comes next?”