At the beginning of the school year, I was among the privileged few, allowed to walk into the classroom.
In the mornings, when I walked my son to school, we'd see parents dropping off their kids from their cars. But my son wasn't interested in that. He wanted me to park, to walk with him into the school, into the classroom. We held hands. He waved a sleepy goodbye.
By the beginning of the second semester, things had changed a bit. I still parked, but I had been relegated to the hallway. I wasn't supposed to come in - unless there was a very good reason. Even then, I'd sometimes get a mortified look and a whisper. "Mom! What are you doing in here?"
A few weeks ago, I lost the hand. I understood. He was in second grade, after all, and his friends were around. He didn't want to be seen holding hands with mommy, after all.
But today, I was banished - to outside the double doors. I was unprepared for this one. It stung.
"Can't I come inside with you?" I asked, a little plaintively.
"No," he said decisively. "I'm fine." And he turned and walked away without looking back.
I waited, watching to make sure he turned into his classroom door. He did, of course, just like he had every other day this year.
I walked away quickly, my head down. Suddenly, the schoolyard didn't seem such a happy place anymore. I fell in behind two moms also walking back to their cars.
"Well, at least you got a hug," one of them said to the other.
The other one laughed. "True," she said. "But I don't know how much longer that'll last."
Maybe I'll laugh about it, too. Tomorrow.