Timmy the Timberwolf should have tipped me off.
Timmy is the mascot for our elementary school, and he was out the other morning at the front door of the school, smiling and waving in his furry costume. I was hurrying back to my car, wondering why the parking lot was so full and why parents were rushing in when I was rushing out. I noticed then that all the children coming in looked little, and all the parents looked harried.
It hit me then: It must be New Kindergartners Day.
As I stopped and watched, the nostalgia hit me like a wave. I remembered when my kids were that little. I remembered how excited I was to see the inside of the kindergarten room, how nervous I was to meet the teacher, how hopeful I was that she'd recognize all the qualities that made my child so special.
I wanted to stop these parents, the ones who looked so rushed and annoyed. I wanted to tell them to slow down, to enjoy this, to store it in their mind's eye so they could enjoy it later. In fact, I wished they were enjoying it now.
I wanted to remind them that even though it seems like these days - when your kids are silly and messy and constantly underfoot - last forever, they'll be gone in a heartbeat.
But I used to hate it when more experienced parents used to do that to me. I would stare at them through my bleary, sleep-deprived eyes and simply nod. "Yeah, right," I'd think, when they'd gush over my adorable children and tell me to savor these precious times. "Whatever."
I took the car seat out of my van last week. My son is just too big for it; he doesn't need it. By the way, he doesn't need to hold my hand any more on the way into school, either.
So maybe it wasn't nostalgia hitting me so hard that morning. Maybe it was envy.