This morning Espen came into our room like he always does, we got him dressed and ate breakfast like any other morning, and then... he went off for his first day of school.
I kept bracing for the tidal wave of emotions that inevitably happens to mothers on these milestone days, but (so far, at least!) it hasn't come. Not even when he puckered his little mouth up to mine for a goodbye kiss - in front of all of his friends, old and new. Not even when I walked out of the classroom where he was too busy playing to really care that I was leaving.
To be fair, it's only Joy School. It's only for three hours, two days a week. It's only in the home of our dear, dear friend who has known and loved Espen since birth. There are only five children in the class, two of which are Espen's best friends, and two more who will soon be part of his pantheon of playmates. He's not exactly going off into the lone and dreary world to fend for himself amongst uncaring strangers. But still, it marks the end of an era. Espen is no longer tucked completely under the safety of my wing. He is starting the process of becoming separate from me, and that does squeeze my heart a little. That little boy is growing up. Ever so slowly, but it is happening. That soft little baby I held in my arms is undeniably gone for ever.
And today he is on his way.