Eleven days from today ... the day after Labor Day ... our triplets will be starting first grade.
They'll leave at 7:45 in the morning and return home at 3:30 in the afternoon. They'll eat lunch at school and make new friends and ... all the while, I pray their little hearts will stay happy.
Charlie and I had been discussing for the past several months whether we wanted the children to be in three separate classrooms or whether we wanted to keep them all together. After some deep soul searching - and conversations with our children - we decided to keep them all together. Not because they wanted to be together per se, but because they are capable of operating very independently of each other in social situations.
So, yes. OK. We kept them together largely for our convenience.
Consider, if we're going to volunteer in their class - it would be easier for us to volunteer in one class, as opposed to three. Ditto for volunteering on field trips and interfacing with the teacher. Perhaps most importantly, if - hypothetically - we were going to have a birthday party for the children, a month after school started, and if we were planning to invite their class, I'm more receptive to hosting a party for 30 children as opposed to 90.
I suspect that this will be the last year they're all together. I suspect that by next year, when they're big second graders, they'll ask to be split up. But until such time as that happens, I opt for the easiest solution which in this case: 3 children = 1 class, commonly expressed as 2 parents = 1 teacher.
Today, the whole family spent a leisurely afternoon coloring with chalk on our driveway. It was one of those times in life when I tried to remember each minute detail so that I could sear the moment in to my memory, forever.
The sun was shining brightly through the trees, turning the leaves fluorescent green. The hot and humid air seemed to amplify the sound of the cicadas which engulfed us, growing louder and louder until their symphony drowned out all other noises. Little hands that are more lean than pudgy, clutching chalk and little tanned legs that were dusted in colored powder. Mismatched clothes. Shoes on the wrong feet. Little faces, scrunched up with concentration as they created their own masterpieces.
An exceptionally long hop scotch...
And a multicolored bug within a sunburst, framed in hot pink. I could just imagine a deck of stationery, or a collective stamp, made up with this image...
The highlight of our gathering were the four little people, who would rather spend time with their father and I than anyone else in the world. Thus far, these are the best moments of my entire life. But I can see it, though. The days of dependency and cuddly babyhood are slowly giving way to distinct personalities which will continue to grow, inch by inch, further from us.
As they grow, may they always find joy in spending time with those they love.
And may we always be among their favorites.