Bittersweet Symphony


September 4, 2012 by Marj Hatzell

The alarm went off at 6am and as I fumbled for it I remembered that today of ALL DAYS I shouldn’t hit the snooze button.  Today was THE DAY. The day I was sending my first-born into the portals of hell, otherwise known as MIDDLE SCHOOL.

I stumbled down the dark hallway, tripped over a dog (a very big dog) and entered Bug Boy’s room. He immediately stirred awake and with barely a “time to get up!” he sprang out of bed, padding down the hallway and stepping over the dog I didn’t previously see. He jumped into the shower, talked and sang to himself and emerged twenty minutes later with his hair perfectly combed to the side and wearing the outfit he carefully selected for himself the night before. His pi shirt.

We chatted a bit through breakfast and I casually reminded him it was time to brush his teeth. He bounced back down the stairs, put on his shoes and socks and grabbed his new backpack. The backpack seemed to swallow him up. Up until now he used a little-kid-sized backpack but for middle school? There’s no way those books and binders would fit in that. Nope, we had to get a new one (red, of course) to send him off to middle school. It was stuffed full of the required school supplies, binders, notebooks and miscellaneous items. He patiently waited while I took a few snapshots and smiled and beamed the whole time.

Out the door he went with nary a “see you later mom” to meet his friend from across the street.  They looked so small, so young in comparison to the other middle school kids. Six years ago I put him on the bus and these boys met for the first time, both wearing Star Wars shirts. They struck up a conversation about Legos immediately and hit it off. And now they are going through puberty, worried about pimples and shaving off peach-fuzz. The time, it sure does fly.

Here I sit with a lump in my throat, waiting to hear all about that first day. Bugaboo and I spent the day together, first at the dentist for a consult and then at a few stores. I’ve been sad. Sad because today is my Dad’s birthday and he would have been 73 and I miss him terribly. Last year at this time he was discharged after having abdominal surgery to remove advanced colon cancer and INSISTED on attending his annual birthday barbecue at my house. He insisted on hobbling across my back yard with a walker and sitting at his place of honor with his family around him.

Sad because he only lived three months after that birthday.

I’m sad because we’re trying yet another dentist and Bugaboo immediately began sobbing upon entering the waiting room. He tried to run the other direction when his name was called. He trembled with fear in the exam room while we waited for the doctor and hygienist to talk to us about our options to get his teeth clean. He cried when I tried to get him to sit in a chair so they could at least look IN his mouth and he wasn’t having any of it. And while we have an OR date set for sedated cleaning (and any dental work he’ll need done) I’m sad that he didn’t enjoy the neato space-themed pediatric dental office we visited today. He didn’t seem to care about Star Wars covering every square inch of the place or the old-school Pacman arcade game in the waiting room. These are things his brother would have loved.

I’m sad because I had to put on classical music on the way home to calm Bugaboo down in the car. He was glazed over and staring thousands of miles away. The music is soothing to him and brings him back. I love classical music, really. But there was something sad and dreary about this day.

The pouring rain? Missing my Dad? One more day until Bugaboo goes to school? It could have been any of them. Or all of them. Or I’m just tired, and I’m tired of life right now and need a break (which, incidentally, I am getting in November).

Life just keeps moving on. Much faster than I ever imagined.

5 thoughts on “Bittersweet Symphony

  1. Janet says:

    Middle school – daughter number 2 started this year. Daughter number 1 is in 8th grade and ignores all of the middle-school-girl-garbage. Number 2 is way different, and even though she wants to, can’t ignore all of it. Good news is that so-far-so-good and she has been in school since August 8.

    Now I just need to get the elementary school to follow my son’s IEP. We are meeting tomorrow 😦

  2. Forgotten says:

    Oh, sweetie. Hang in there. Some days are harder than others but I know you’ll get through this one. It’s ok to cry, you know? It lets the sad leak out. Cut yourself some slack. You tried to give Bugaboo an enjoyable experience. I hate the dentist’s office so he has my sympathy. I wouldn’t care if it was like a spa experience, I’d still hate it. Just hang in there, lil mama. (((HUGS)))

  3. Anonymous says:

    I seem to be feeling a little weepy myself, this brought me to tears. Know you are not alone.

  4. Bec says:

    Heck, I don’t think there’s many who are more deserving of a break than you. I’m glad to hear you’re getting one eventually (November’s not that far, if you think about it… well, okay it is but if you squint you can still see that flicker of light at the end of the tunnel there…) I felt sooooo sad when my son started middle school, I couldn’t put my finger on it but it was just a heaviness. I really hope the day went well for him.

  5. solodialogue says:

    You do deserve a break. Missing your dad is a tough one that I have not yet had to face. But remembering times he made you laugh and made you proud has that bittersweet quality – look at the sweet- let the bitter go. ( that song is now stuck in my head) Rain and the dentist for one of our kiddos? Yuck! How could you not feel sad? Know you are not alone in that.
    And as for Bug Boy, how could you not be proud?! Such a grown and responsible Middle Schooler! Yay for that, eh?

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