About a week or so after my beloved first-born entered the world, I found myself calculating. My calculations may have been off because, after all, I was famished for sleep and also still recovering from an extremely complicated birth--but still, I saw that I only had to last five years before this tender, fragile, screaming human being would be turned out on his own.

Five years until kindergarten.

Well, friends, in the past week or so I have felt much like, say, the tattered exile in the desert who spies an oasis, dragging my desperate way toward the waterhole on my belly, powered only by sheer will. Also, I have been doing a lot of yelling. Because this past week was the capper, the absolute zenith of high tensions and the clash of mother and child, both of whom are ready to be done with one another, at least for a few hours each day.

Jordan conveniently learned how to use a calendar so that he could count down the days until school started (he's quite bright, you know). He announced it daily: eight days left until kindergarten, seven days left until kindergarten...I tried to hold back on counting the hours.

Scott and I attended the parent-teacher conference on Wednesday. She cautioned this small group of parents (all of us soon parting with our sweet, round, beautiful children) not to cry. It would start a chain-reaction, she said.

And what about celebrating? I wondered. Would that be in poor taste?

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