You know they're growing up when they no longer want you to come to the bus stop with them on the first day of school. Little Mouse, who is in her second year of middle school, said it was all right if I waited down the block, but the Barrister, who is a freshman in high school this year, directed me to wait on the back porch. "You can see the bus through the trees, Mom," he told me patiently.
I still remember his first day of school, and how tightly he squeezed my hand while we waited for the kindergarten bus. I still remember the "kissing hand" sticker he wore to school--I was to kiss the sticker before school, and then all through his first day of school, he could press the sticker to his cheek and get a kiss from Mom whenever he felt the need. I stuck the sticker in my journal after his first day. It's still there.
I know he's fourteen now. I know that he's only a hair shorter than I am. I know that his feet are already way bigger than mine, and that he will be a man in only a few short years. But I really wish he had a kissing hand sticker to take with him today.
Or maybe I wish that he still wanted one.