August 25, 2010

One Off, One Lonely Girl to Go

The house is crazy quiet. Every summer I forget how quiet the house gets once Briton is off to school. And while it's much easier to get my work done without twenty five questions an hour or someone running up and down the stairs to get just one more playmobil, I miss the clamor already.

It's not that he makes all the noise, although I think he is responsible for the lion's share of it, but when he is gone, Evie gets quiet. No brother to banter and play and scream and laugh and play with. She didn't talk much at all until she was two and a half, almost three, instead preferring to communicate through her brother. She would look at him and he would tell us in that telepathic sibling way what she wanted.

The two of them have always been very close. They watch movies with their heads together or snuggle up in one bed. Last year we often heard the phrase "I miss my boy" from Evie during the day. And I worried a little that this summer of togetherness might damage thier closeness in some way. So much time together, both of them getting older, Briton reaching that independent big kid stage. And in the past few weeks there has been more bickering. Briton has begun to want to play on his own more, with no interference from his sister, Evie has gotten bossier in the way only a little sister can.

This morning as I packed up Briton's backpack for the first day, Evie insisted on packing her own lunchbox. When we were walking out the door I looked down to find her carrying the lunchbox on her shoulder, ready to go.

"Evie, you're not going on the bus this morning you know." I said
"What?" Wide eyed and disbelieving, she answered me.
"You start school on Friday, remember?"
"Briton is going on the bus today!" She told me
"Yes. But you go to your school Friday."

She sat on the sidewalk and pouted. No she did not want to come say goodbye to her brother. She was mad. Briton ran down to hang out with his best friend, comparing backpacks, humming with excitement. Our bus stop was packed with 21 kids heading off to school this morning. Strange compared to Briton's kindergarten year when it was just him and a girl in his class. That morning I cried, took dozens of photos, got twenty hugs and told him lots of reassuring things about how much he would love school. This morning, as the bus rounded the corner, he headed off without a backward glance. Not a hug or a kiss or a goodbye, too intent on getting the good seat at the back of the bus with his friend.

Evie stayed on the sidewalk and watched the bus go. When we were inside she looked at me with her lip pushed out.

"I miss Briton."

I know little girl. So do I.