First of all, the van came today and I received an apology for the difficulties. I'm still irritated but willing to move on.
On to my completely obvious revelation, one of those moments which hit you profoundly but sounds silly and obvious when you try to explain it to anyone else.
I was waiting for Nathan to come out from school and I remembered my own Grade 1 days. I remembered learning to print and write cursive in special workbooks. I remember listening to stories on the carpet and how itchy the darn thing was whenever I wore shorts or a skirt. I remember saving up helper points for being a good helper in the classroom so that I could get a fake yellow rose with a black velvet ribbon from the prize board. I remember staring at it week after week and hoping that no one else would choose it. I remember that another kid asked to look at it on the way home and I let them and they never gave it back. I remember crying about it as if my heart was broken, which it was.
As I'm enjoying this Good Times Stroll through Memory Lane, it hits me.
Nathan is going to have memories like that. Memories that I won't share with him. Memories of his own unique life.
He has become the protagonist of his own life rather than an adjunct of mine. (Hey, they refer to it as "mother and baby" for a reason. Mom comes first.)
It was one of those moments where it hits me on a gut level that he is his own unique persona, an unprecedented mix of personality and predisposition waiting to be stirred by experience. There has never been one of him before and now here he is, exploring his life.
It made me sad and proud and happy and awed and a whole grab bag of other emotion fragments.
In some ways, Alex's lack of independence has sheltered me from such a revelation with him. He and I are still very closely tied together but Nathan is stepping free from my immediate orbit.
He still has a long way to go. Many more moments to share and savour. I'll have to hold them close in my memory because sooner or later, they will become exceptionally rare.
But for now, I still get to tuck him into bed and sing the soft kitty song. And that's pretty good.