The other night Oliver asked me if he could buy lunch the next day. He was excited about the pizza and the chilled sliced peaches. My heart warmed and I broke out in laughter; the details of the chilled and the sliced included.

This was our first week back to school. Back in person, in new schools for Lucas and Penny. After so much time of being disconnected, separated, idle and lonely it was joyous to wake them up, dress them up, pack them up and walk them out of the house to see friends and neighbors emerge to a new day. They are connecting with old friends while trying to make new, figuring out which way to walk and which way to look while I obsess over who might be mean and if a year practically lost academically will be recoverable.

Lucas comes home and complains of the age of the school and the lack of windows. He’s not quite vibing yet as he’s adjusting to the new student body that will be his world for the next four years. Penny is excited on certain days when she sees her closest friends and dreads the other days because she has Math. And Oliver is simply happy and content and easily reports the news of the day, no social anxieties plaguing his day.

I am excited and apprehensive of the next four years that await Lucas. I know I, as a parent, need to step up my game and learn all the things that matter to colleges while ensuring he’s well adjusted, well rounded and well liked. I am anxious for Penny because she is my daughter and navigating friendships and herself in these next two years is probably the most transformative and fraught. And I am comforted by Oliver. Before angst and moodiness, before he cares about his outfit, before he gets too big to pick up, before I am no longer his center. He simply looks forward to tomorrow and his chilled sliced peaches.

June 2014