This morning was the first day of school for my boys. I went to work very early; then planned to get back in time to make them breakfast and make sure they were set for the day. As I was driving home from work, I started to feel it. The dull ache. The one that began on the first day of school four years ago.
That day was much like today. I went to work early, and got home to make breakfast as a send off for the kids on the big day. Only Phil had already started the pancakes by the time I arrived. I walked in the door to the smell of butter sizzling and batter turning into the "brown around the edges" pancakes for which Phil was famous in our house. I was greeted by him at the door for the last time, but I didn't know it.
Today feels frighteningly like that day. But I know how the story ends this time. As I cooked the breakfast, checked the backpacks, straightened the shirts, handed out lunch money, and finally gave the send-off hug and wish for a great day...I avoided the word fabulous. Because that is the word I said on that other day, the one that is haunting me now. I wished all my kids a fabulous day in a cheery, jaunty voice and ten hours later the world was no longer a place I recognized.
Four years later, I live in a new world. I love this world, too. But sometimes, on days like today, the pull of the old world is so strong that I can barely catch my breath.