Several things have stayed the same:
Silas still looks tiny under his huge backpack. My heart still almost pulls out of my chest after him when I watch him walk off into the world, skinny-legged, beneath it. Despite some quiet discoveries (like a-s-s, a word which he learned unbeknownst to me and so nicely spelled for his cousins over Christmas dinner), Silas still comes to me with questions, like what "hay-ull" means -- figured out that was "hell." He loves for me to lie down with him at bedtime and make Veeny (bear) and Harold (elephant) talk and tell wild stories about their days at school. He still loves to cuddle up next to me and listen to chapter books for hours, and is thrilled with I come into his classroom. The other day he rode with me on the school bus during his field trip.
But 1st grade has also been a year of changes:
Silas stopped running to me, arms flung wide, face fixed on mine, beaming as he crashes full-weight into my hug. Now he lopes along under his huge backpack, unhurried, and flings an arm or two around me when he reaches me. He has dropped my hand a few times -- at school or on the way to the bus. A few weeks ago, I embarrassed him for the first time at JogFest as I cheered rowdily for strangers. He gripped my arm and slipped behind it -- "MooOoom" "Oh, does this embarrass you??" And I let loose yelling and whooping and clapping. His fingers clenched my arm but I could hear the laugh in his voice and kept going...
Yesterday was his first timed trials for swim team. We are such rookies that I didn't even know what that meant. We rolled in 20 minutes late, Silas wearing board shorts (decidedly NOT what one wears to timed trials). We were equally nervous driving over except he was in tears and I was saying everything I didn't quite believe in a kind even voice: "you are going to be SO glad you went.... This is bonding with the team!... your time doesn't matter... If you float on your back for most of your butterfly lap, that's OK, you just need to get to the other side (surely not quite right, but were they going to make him swim a whole lap of wiggly butterfly?? He can't do that!)... It will only be cold for a second and then you'll warm up (66 degrees and cloudy -- freezing and awful!)" The night before I'd offered to bring pom-poms and jump and yell on the side of the pool, and that morning he asked me if I had them. Really?? No, maybe at your first meet, I told him. ""Awwww." But when we got there and he dove his scraggly dive in (and thankfully his board shorts stayed up), something happened. He became part of the team. He walked around the pool deck in his shark robe eating a giant muffin that someone gave him, getting pep talks from his 13 year old new buddy, playing tether ball between strokes. There was a transfer. He hardly waved when I left.
As I walked out of the pool looking back at his skinny boy body, his laughing with the other small boys -- especially small next to the rest of the team but feeling like they couldn't have been bigger -- I watched our separateness.
This is how it's supposed to be. He began as my moon, but quickly -- so quickly -- he is already evolving into a planet, that will orbit the sun next to me.