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Last School Lunch

On Clayton’s first full day of kindergarten I carefully packed the perfect lunch and placed it in his metal Godzilla lunch box. Tucked beneath his sandwich was, of course, a note from Mom. Trouble was, Clayton couldn’t yet read so I wrote, “I love you” in hieroglyphics. Then, I drew a picture of me and him hugging one another. He stuffed it in his little pocket, reaching inside throughout the day to remember he was not alone.
This morning, I made Clayton’s last school lunch. Tucked beside his sandwich, of course, was a note from Mom ... and ... just for old time’s sake ... I added hieroglyphics.

Last night at the Senior High Awards Night, an Army Colonel presented a recognition award to Clayton for his appointment to West Point. The entire crowd gave my son a standing ovation. Pretty awesome.

On my calendar I have a countdown until we say goodbye ... fifty-five days. The last time I had a countdown of this significance was right before Davis was born, and two-year-old Stuart would announce daily how many more days there were “before the baby chums.”

Notes will soon begin to take on significance once again, as Clayton spends the summer at West Point’s basic training which is lovingly referred to as “Beast Barracks.” During that period, notes will be our only communication ... and Clayton has never been very good at writing ... so ... it’s going to be pretty one-sided. Ironically, we are brought back full-circle to the hieroglyphics era and to a time when it will be important, once more, for him to know he is not alone.

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