I’m nervous, he squishes his face to my side. I’m nervous about tomorrow.
I pull him close and tussle his middle school boy hair- still smells like freshly picked wish-flowers.
Tell me everything you’re nervous about. Out they tumble.
Fears about class and where to go.
What if the locker doesn’t work?
What if I get lost, or am late?
What if your mask falls in the toilet? I joke.
Or you forget what period it is?
We’re quiet. Laying there. Listening to nervous companions bounce out of our heads and onto the floor.
What if all your classmates are laying in their beds with their mom or dad saying the same thing right now? I ask.
What if you’re not alone? What if we’re all nervous and learning together?
I trace three hearts on his face.
You are loved. You are loved. You are so so so loved.
Then a smooch and a bed tuck and a parting hair tussle.
Door closes in quiet and calm.
Outside his door I smile. What was I nervous about at his age, the night before going to middle school?
Same fears. Decades apart.
*inspired by a conversation with our oldest who took off for the great adventure of in-person middle school today.