September is fast drawing to a close and we’ve settled into a morning routine now…an hour of mostly happy breakfast chaos, the snapping on of bike helmets, good-bye kisses and then…quiet. For the first time in 10 years, it’s quiet.

I’ve come to consider it a successful morning if everyone leaves the house dignity intact. Preoccupied with dental hygiene, clean socks and last minute spelling drills, I forget that they’re leaving what should be the safe-zone and venturing into largely unchartered territory. Figuring out multiplication and friendships, navigating recess squabbles and gym class. 7 hours of being “on” – on task, on time, on guard.

For the most part I’m not sentimental about “things” – baby clothes and clay modelling projects – but I have a hard time letting go of moments. It’s the reason that I still pick them up from school instead of sending them on the bus. That moment when we make eye contact across the field. I love how Justin’s grin seems to take up his whole face, and how Colin breaks into a run. Aaron catapults himself into my legs. Now 10, most days Julianna is deep in conversation with her two best friends and looks up just long enough to see where the van is parked. I love that last year Justin asked if I could bring appetizers when I pick them up. (“As in…bruschetta? baked brie?” I asked.)

I need to remember how I laughed about the appetizer request when, with the best of intentions to raise clean and conscientious offspring, I’m barking out orders and reminding them of their shortcomings. I need to remember how at the end and beginning of the day, I’m the most influential person in their little world. For now.