Friday, June 15, 2012

Afternoons With Mommy

When  Ariel was born, her sister Serena was 3 years old. For three years, she and Mommy and Serena spent their afternoons together while Serena was in preschool, pre-k and then kindergarten. Then, Serena got to first grade, and she was no longer home until late in the day. Ariel, however continued to have her afternoons with Mommy. Sometimes, Daddy was there too; sometimes he wasn't. Sometimes, they went out; sometimes they didn't. No matter what, it was always at least Ariel and Mommy, and Ariel liked it that way.

Another school year was coming to an end. Ariel was finishing kindergarten. They didn't really have a graduation, but they had a moving on ceremony. It was a few days before the end of school. Mommy and Daddy came to it. Afterwards, there were cookies and cake served.

"Ariel," said Mommy ,"We're so proud of you." She hugged Ariel tightly. Ariel smiled briefly, but she didn't really feel happy inside.

"Aren't you excited to be going into first grade?" asked Daddy sounding as happy and excited as he felt Ariel ought to feel. She didn't feel that way at all though. She didn't feel happy or excited.

"I'm sure, she's excited, but I'm sure she's a little nervous too." replied Mommy knowingly. "It will be an all new school with all new kids and all new teachers to get used to."

Ariel nodded. She was nervous about the new school, and she would miss her teachers and friends. It wasn't only that though.

"Don't worry, " Daddy assured her. "You'll get used to the new school. Just like you got used to this one."

"And, you'll make new friends and get used to your new teachers." added Mommy.

Ariel smiled and pretended to be happy. Inside she was still sad though, but she didn't want to say what was really bothering her.

A few days later, it was really the last day of school, Mommy picked Ariel up at the end of her school day. "How does it feel to be a kindergarten graduate?" she asked.  Ariel just nodded and smiled still pretending to be happy.

On the walk home, Ariel was quiet. Mommy was quiet too at first. Then, Mommy broke the silence. "This is our last afternoon together." she said. Ariel couldn't pretend anymore, and she started to cry. "Oh, Ariel," said Mommy stopping and getting down on her knees next to Ariel, "What's the matter?" Ariel just kept crying. She couldn't get the words out even if she wanted to.

Mommy thought about it for a minute. All the while, she hugged Ariel and held her close. "Are you sad because next year you will be going to school full-time, and this is our last afternoon together?" asked Mommy.

Ariel nodded through her tears. "I'm going to miss you, mommy." she said finally.

"I'll miss you too, but, you'll still come home every day."

"But we won't have our afternoons together."

"No, we won't," agreed Mommy. "I'll miss them too." she added sounding a little bit sad herself. After all, Ariel was her last baby. When Ariel was in school all day, she wouldn't have anyone home in the afternoon with her.

Knowing Mommy felt sad about it too didn't make Ariel feel any better. In fact, it made her feel worse. She burst out crying all over again.

Mommy lifted Ariel up into her arms. "Don't worry." she assured Ariel. "It's true we won't have our afternoons together like we have since Serena was in first grade and you were in preschool, but we'll still have special times together."

"Just you and I?" asked Ariel.

"Just you and I."

"You promise?"

"I promise."

"I love you Mommy!" exclaimed Ariel hugging her mother tightly.

"I love you too." replied Mommy hugging her back, "and it seems to me we still have one afternoon together left so why don't we go out to lunch?" she added.

"I'd like that." replied Ariel.

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