a beginning and an end

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"Daisy, F3," he says as we pull into our parking spot on the third level of the Disneyland parking structure. The park's about to open and we've arrived, just the two of us, our last hoorah before school starts.

It was a last minute plan. I suddenly found myself thinking about the summer before Fable was born and how I took Archer out of school so that we could spend the last few weeks together as a duo. I longed for a day like that - a full day for Archer and me - I needed summer closure but it was more than that. I needed to break up with my preschooler so that I could enter a new relationship with my kindergartner.

"I'll remember it's F3 because F is what Fable starts with," Archer says. I thank him and we walk toward the escalator hand in hand.
***

The alarm goes off and I pull the pillow tight over my head. Hal offers to wake the kids so I roll over, fall back asleep.

... Until Archer's voice wakes me, this time for good. "Hi, Mommy. It's kindergarten day," he says and I open my eyes.

***

Before we go on any rides, Archer tells me he wants to watch for a minute. He wants to "watch the rapids ride," he tells me. So we sit together on a bench for almost an hour as he points and studies and tilts his head watching, counting, trying to understand why one raft is here when another is there, tracing time with his finger he calculates distance, studies the faces of the hundreds of people who pass by us screaming down the fall.

Every few minutes I ask Archer if he's ready to get on the ride.

"Not yet," he tells me but I'm getting impatient.

Sometimes I feel guilty for wanting to drag him away from his world and into mine. And I have to stop myself from doing just that.

"I'm here for him," I remind myself. "I'm in his waiting room, here. I have to take a number."
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So I do. I sit cross-legged on the pavement behind him and wait, watch the back of his head look left, look right, look left, look on, and wait.

Until, finally...

"Hey, mom. Want to go on this ride with me?"

Of course I do so we get in line.

He climbs into the raft first and I follow, both of us seated in a raft with strangers on all sides, all of them covered in plastic to keep their clothes dry.

Archer flashes me a look and I tell him that, no, I don't have plastic in my purse.

He tells me it's okay, that the sun will dry us, and for a second I forget who the parent is. Shouldn't it be me assuring him?

"The sun will dry us," I say.

"I already said that."
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When it ends our hair is drenched and our shoes are full of water, clothes are soaked through. We walk like ducks to the bathroom where we dry our shoes under the electric hand driers before unfolding our soggy map and pointing out a new destination.

"I know. Let's watch the ROLLERCOASTER!"

So we do. We dry ourselves under the sun, sip water from our bottles and watch the rollercoaster. We order food, rock our table on its bad leg, eat, watch. The check comes and goes. I fold the receipt and put it in my pocket as Archer explains to me which cars go on which tracks and why. We're still watching.

I tell him that he can watch for three more times. Otherwise we'll be here all day at this table and the sun won't be able to dry our butts.

"Four more times," he says.

"Deal."

***

His head goes back as I adjust his collar, button the three buttons on his shirt, help him with his sweater, tie his shoes. Hal is boiling his lunch on the stove and Archer shakes his head back and forth making it very difficult for me to get that last button. But he's so excited so I don't say anything. I just move with his jumps and jolts and sways, trying to fit the button through the buttonhole until finally...

"Got it."

It's 7:12 am and I want to be out the door in eighteen minutes. Hal and I are still in our pajamas but at least the kids are dressed.

"You look very handsome," I say.

Archer makes a face. "No I don't."

He does.

***

We're on Autopia for the third time. It's Archer's favorite ride besides the Monorail which has the best view of Anaheim's great power lines. Archer's driving but he doesn't know my foot is on the gas.

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When we stall, I tell him it's my fault. But he's too busy trying to make the car move with his own foot to hear me.

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He's mastered the art of steering without bumping us up against the track. Two times is all it took for him to figure out how to steer. Two times and forty minutes of watching from the sidelines.

"I can steer you really well, Mama" he says.

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And he can.

***

We're in the car now. We've all managed to get dressed with one minute to spare. Archer requests his favorite song and I turn the volume up as Hal backs the car down the driveway.

At the stop light I turn down the music, tell Archer about my first day of Kindergarten. I was wearing a white dress with blue stripes and my teacher's name was Ms. Parish. And then Hal tells him about his first day of kindergarten and Archer nods, half listening, half studying the new route from our house to school.

"Hey, dad?" he says. "Light's green. You can go now."


***

I take him on Small World because it's my favorite. He doesn't want to go on it with me at first because he wants to watch the submarines. I tell him that I can't go on that ride with him because it scares me. That I'm afraid of confined spaces and that I would get very sick if I went inside.

He tells me we can go on Small World, then, if I want to.

We share a cotton candy and laugh at the wooden frogs.

***

On the playground the parents gather, all of us with tired eyes behind smudged sunglasses, watching nervously, sad and scared and excited and overwhelmed. Some of the children cling to their parents, or at least, stay close. Not Archer. Archer could have easily said goodbye at the car and walked himself to class. I'm glad he's excited but there's a part of me that wishes he would cling to me, too, or at the very least look back.

But he doesn't. He runs off full speed toward the farthest playground as I hang back and watch from afar.

He doesn't look to me for reinforcements so I don't give them to him.

Instead, I hold his backpack.

***
"I'm cold," he says.

I feel bad I left his sweatshirt in the car. I hadn't realized we'd still be here. Thought we'd stay for the day and be home for dinner.

I don't know what time it is, past bedtime most probably, but here we are. I cancel plans with the friends I was supposed to meet later, give Archer my cardigan to wear and watch him step onto the fence and watch Thunder Mountain speed rickety on by.
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On the way to Tomorrowland, we pass a booth and a man selling lights sticks and twirly things that flash like strobes.

I offer to buy him one if I can afford to. I only have ten dollars cash left in my wallet. Archer gets so excited he starts jumping up and down but can't decide which light he wants until...

"THAT ONE!" he screams.

"How much for the light saber?" I ask the man at the booth.

"Ten dollars," he says.

Archer looks at me and smiles.

***

Archer's eyes are this amazing shape, like backwards almonds and I wonder if that's why he sees the world so differently from anyone I've ever met. The other day we came across a cat with one eye and one ear and Archer gasped, pointing and said, "Mama, look! Look at that cat! It has the most beautiful tail!" He said nothing of the missing eye and ear.

He's always been like that, even before he could speak. In awe of power lines and broken pieces of glass in the road. Archer has always found beauty where most look away in disgust. Archer's favorite part of nature is always the trash we find on the winding paths. His favorite part of a house are the cracks in the driveway.

***

We are told that the fireworks are about to start so I carry him on my back and we run, his light wand in hand through the crowd, dodging strollers and families clutching giant stuffed Mickeys. Archer wants me to put him down, says he can walk on his own, but I don't want him to miss this, so I hold on.

"We're almost there," I say.

And then they start. I keep running because I want us to get a better view.

And we do. We watch together as the fireworks explode and he's smiling at them with his hands against my neck, pointing his light saber and his weight is such that I can barely keep him elevated without falling. I stagger but hold on.

He puts his head on my shoulder and the lights dance across his face. The music swells, all songs from my childhood from Beauty and the Beast, Dumbo, Sleeping Beauty... Archer doesn't recognize them but he likes that the fireworks make a shape like a heart in the sky.

I haven't seen the fireworks at Disneyland since I was a little girl and even then I have no recollection of them being like this. I urge them to go on forever.

And then...

"You can put me down now, Mommy. These fireworks are too long."

So I do.

And before they have even ended...

"Let's go home."

Archer points his light saber toward the entrance as we make our way back through the crowd.


***

We walk him into class but he scurries ahead. Doesn't ask us to come inside. He'll see us after school, he says, waving. This isn't the first time I've left him at school but it feels different. Preschool was for my baby. Kindergarten is for my boy.

He hangs his backpack in the closet and joins the rest of the students on the rug. I wave again but this time he's not looking.

***

On the way back to the car Archer insists on walking, using his light beam as a sort of cane he hits against the pavement with every step. "Crack, crack, craaaaaack," it goes, smacking and dragging until at last we arrive at the car.

And then, as if by magic, the light beam stops blinking. Perhaps he broke it hitting it so many times or maybe the battery died or maybe... magic.

Archer looks up at me, lip quivering before dropping his toy and bursting into tears.

I wait for Archer to fall asleep in the backseat before doing the same.

I'm crying and I can't fucking stop.

Because the day is over. Because the light went out. Because our moment has passed. Because all moments do.
***
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GGC

After this week I'll be blogging seldom, if at all, about Archer. For those of you who have been reading since the beginning, you'll know that this has always been my intention -- to let Archer take over as keeper of his own life stories once he started Kindergarten. He has a right to his privacy and although I've only shared what I felt was appropriate, he has gotten to an age where I feel it's no longer my place to write publicly about his world. (Same will go for Fable when she starts kindergarten.) Archer's been my muse for as long as I've understood what it meant to have one and it's painful letting him go. But every day I become more aware of the fact that he doesn't belong to me. Still, this is going to be a challenge -- keeping Archer out of the spotlight I have fixed upon him since his birth and although I've spent the last year posting less and less about his life, keeping him on the periphery of what I write about is going to take some getting used to. In the meantime, thank you ever so kindly for your support and understanding -- for the love you've shown for him over the last five years. I'm blown away by the boy he has become and am beyond proud to have been able to share so much of him with you. Again, thank you all.
My Ear!

136 comments:

Chica | 1:41 PM

I'm all teary-eyed. I know once the day comes for Austin to go out and trek in his own life that I will be anxious but happy for him. :-) Such a beautiful post! I must have clicked on it right after you "published".
I love the photos too - beautiful.

Marie McIntosh | 1:45 PM

Hoooomygosh. I hope I am as good at expressing my love for my children as you are. Absolutely beautiful.

Amber Gregory | 1:46 PM

I too am teary-eyed. Rebecca. Love.

Susan | 1:47 PM

This is beautiful, Rebecca. Just beautiful.

Ashley, the Accidental Olympian | 1:48 PM

Woman.

The way you write is unlike anyone else I've stumbled upon.

You mold everyday life into these beautiful moments that usually tug on my heart and often end with me welling up in tears.

Thank you for sharing. Sharing your life, sharing Archer's life, sharing as you do.

You, have a beautiful gift.

sarah doow | 1:48 PM

This was so beautifully written, such a great idea to combine the two stories. I'm just now reading your book, so I'm back when Archer was only 7 months old at the moment. It looks to me as though you and Hal have done a fine job as parents.

And Fable? That thumbs up photo bombing made me laugh.

The818 | 1:49 PM

My baby is 11 months old and I'm reading this going "no, no, no, no, no, NO." because I can't even imagine how hard that day will be. But you're doing amazing. Beautiful post.

Stef | 1:50 PM

Bye, Archer! I have enjoyed reading about you and know you've got amazing things ahead of you! :-)

SummerLen | 1:52 PM

Seriously. I'm all teary eyed too and I'm not normally a sentimental person. I'm pregnant so maybe that has something to do with it, but I think rather, it has something to do with your eloquence with words.

Charisa | 1:53 PM

You're amazing. That was beautiful. I'm crying as I sit in the pick up lane, waiting for my own kindergartner.

Shalyn | 1:53 PM

Made me cry...thanks for sharing! I always look forward to my Mommy-Son Disney days....I just wish I could remember every little detail and write them as beautifully as you :)Good Luck in Kindergarten Archer

Melinda | 1:53 PM

Beautiful. I can't think of a better word. I will miss Archer stories but I totally understand!

Restless Mama | 1:54 PM

I, too, am weepy eyed over this post.

Wishing happiness for Archer in this new stage of life.

Living Thoughtfully | 1:56 PM

I have been a reader for awhile, but I don't think I have ever commented. This post compels me to say something.

That was beautiful. So well written. You made me cry at my desk. Really beautifully written.

Thanks for sharing Archer and your love of him with us for the past 5 years. I will miss the stories about your amazing boy, but appreciate your respect for his privacy.

Cherish | 1:56 PM

This is fucking beautiful. In my mind I just witnessed my 18 mo. old baby grow into a boy and walk away without looking back.

theurbancowgirl | 1:58 PM

Such as well written, beautiful post.

Sarah, The Ohana Mama | 1:58 PM

This was so beautifully written and pulled at my own mom-of-a-new-kindergartner heart strings.

Hug, congrats and have fun on the new ride...Kindergarten!

marlene | 2:00 PM

the courage it took to write this. bravo.

Sabrina | 2:01 PM

Goodbye, Archer. And good luck. You will do great things with your life, and hopefully your mama will keep us posted from time to time. P.S. You look awesome in that navy blue cardigan:) With love from L.A.

emily bilbrey | 2:02 PM

::sniffles::

::dries eyes::

beautiful, so beautiful. love that boy very dearly. thank you for sharing him with us all!

you're an amazing writer, and an even more amazing mama. happy everything to you, and your big boy who is starting a who new adventure and exciting stage of life.

cheers!

Punk Rock Mom | 2:03 PM

Rebecca, thank you so much for sharing your stories about your beautiful boy. I have a daughter who is one day older than Archer and I have enjoyed reading about how you have dealt with many of the same things I have dealt with in the last 5 years (mini-vans and school uniforms just to name a few recent ones). You have always helped me be confident in my decisions or see another point of view.

Nothing But Bonfires | 2:10 PM

Oh Rebecca, this was so wonderful. I didn't want it to stop. Well, I kind of did because I just drank an entire can of ginger ale and really, really need to pee, but I mostly didn't want it to at all.

seekingclarav | 2:10 PM

"The other day we came across a cat with one eye and one ear and Archer gasped, pointing and said, "Mama, look! Look at that cat! It has the most beautiful tail!" He said nothing of the missing eye and ear."

--This made me cry, how beautiful his soul is.

You are a good, strong Momma.

Mommy | 2:13 PM

It's been an honor to meet Archer through your blog. He is an amazing soul and it's so fitting that the universe entrusted him to you. You both have uncommon insight. Happy journeys, Archer!

Claire | 2:22 PM

<3

Desi | 2:25 PM

That was beautiful. Thank you for posting it.

krista | 2:32 PM

this is, by far, my favorite thing you've ever written.

Maria | 2:37 PM

You have a way of making me cry. Your photographs, your writing, the songs you post...

I'm sad that you will no longer share Archer's beautiful mind with us, but I understand where you're coming from.

I'm looking forward to future posts though! Thank you so much for sharing the beauty in your life.

Cave Momma | 2:39 PM

Best.post.ever. Absolutely beautiful.

Amanda | 2:44 PM

Thank YOU. For sharing him with us. For inspiring and opening my eyes and heart to motherhood, in all of its shapes and sounds.

You two made me less afraid (and Fable just makes me want to throw BC out the window and try again).

Here's to your future adventures Archer!

jill (smyth) | 3:04 PM

I'm so unoriginal. The whole time I was reading this I kept thinking - this is fucking beautiful, Pretty Lips. I click in to comment and see that everyone else thought so too.

You have a wistful look on your face in that photo with baby Archer. Like you knew kindergarten was coming. Like you knew you'd have to let your baby go.

It seems we're all proud - but I commend you on the nurturing and space you've given Archer to become himself. Of course he'll be missed round here.

I know I'm looking forward to seeing the new kid. You know, the one Fable wants to be a big sister to.

SpillingOutBeautiful | 3:12 PM

Archer kills me so much. I will throughly miss hearing his thoughts and stories. He is more insightful than most adults. I've enjoyed watching him grow so much (as everyone has) and I will miss your writing about him. You've raised him to be a wonderful little guy who will excel in whatever he chooses to do. Congrats to Archer and of course to you for surviving the first five years.

cassie Boorn | 3:14 PM

I am teary eyed. After reading your book and reading this post it feels like this is the end. This is the place where they live happily ever after.

mommymae | 3:15 PM

thanks for that! i'm fucking bawling over here! such beautiful words for the beautiful boy. your beautiful boy, as long as he'll have you. and i imagine that to be forever.

flyrish | 3:15 PM

Thank you for sharing Archer with us. I will miss him because he's such a remarkable guy. But I commend your decision to let him live his own life now.

Oh, I can't even imagine taking my Q to kindergarten. I don't think I'll be able to capture my feelings quite so well, either.

McConnels | 3:41 PM

This may be my fave post of yours... and there have been quite few i've loved. Partly because I LOVE Disneyland and can't wait till my boy is big enough to enjoy it with me and of course partly because he's only a few years away from Kindergarten himself and I don't want to think about it yet.



Good work.

Melt Momma's Heart | 3:51 PM

Awww. ♥ Thanks for inspiring a good cry. I gotta go play with my preschoolers in the backyard now....

Elizabeth | 3:52 PM

What a beautiful post. What beautiful memories you'll have.

Rhea (Greek Feaster) | 4:07 PM

Fantastic post, Rebecca. I sat down to skim my Reader after a run and I'm sitting here at the bottom of the page, sweaty in my shorts and sports bra, all misty and reaching for the phone to call my mama. It doesn't help that I played that GOD FORSAKEN Poly Spree song (cue lip quivering).
Bravo!

Lin | 4:13 PM

I loved this one, Rebecca.

Just an idea, but there are mommy bloggers who let their kids read the posts about them and remove whatever they want. Archer is probably a bit young still to make this choice, but it might work later on.

Anonymous | 4:34 PM

You are so incredibly blessed. All of you. Wow.

Barbara

Megan | 4:36 PM

I cried! This was it. The post. Thank you.

Kim | 4:39 PM

Your writing is beautiful and eloquent and seemingly effortless. I love to read your words. What a wonderful tribute to Archer and your time together that day. I hope for Archer's sake you continue to write about him, words that are just for him to have read and remember when he is grown. I wish that I would have had something like that

Julianna Cannon | 4:42 PM

I've been reading since Archer was a baby. Through his silence. Through his chosen solitude. Through his ultimate decision to communicate with the world.

You, Dear Rebecca, are the kind of parent every child should have.

Thank you for providing SO MUCH MORE than a home for your children.

The world should take lesson.

Michelle - Bumparella Blog | 4:43 PM

Hi Rebecca, this is the first time I've read your blog. What a gorgeous post. Thank you.

You've given me a great idea - to spend a day with my 7 year old, just the two of us, before the new baby arrives in December.

What a beautiful memory you've created for your son.

LindaB | 4:53 PM

I'm sitting here trying not to sob in my living room and failing. I've read your blog practically from day one and my little boy is 4 , close enough to Archer's age to nod my head in agreement and laugh / cry when I'm supposed to and far enough away that I've learned from a lot of your posts about what's to come. I'm dreading / excited for my boy's kindergarten day to come next year.
The emotion in this post is palpable. Archer is very special and I appreciate all you've shared over the years.

Cara | 5:13 PM

You've just given me a vision of my future, and my breath literally caught.

June1 | 5:14 PM

Once again, you've left me crying with your beautiful perspective. I'm going to go cuddle with my one year-old now, and try not to think of that day when he will be a boy and not my tiny, squishy baby; not yet, anyway. :)

eliseandpaul | 5:32 PM

good effing gracious. i am so terrified every day i see my little boys getting bigger, closing in on preschool, kindergarten, middle school, college ahhhh! :) you give me hope and strength that i'll be able to close one chapter and begin another. much love for ya for sharing your heart with us all.

Meredith | 5:56 PM

Beautiful post. Thanks for sharing. Totally sobbing, btw. My son has just started Senior Kindergarten and this really hits home.

Candice | 6:23 PM

Okay, now I'm crying. My son is four months old and I can't/don't want to think about his first day of kindergarten.

I've seen comments like, "All you write about is Fable now" but I think you're doing the right thing. At BlogHer, The Bloggess said she had two rules: Don't hurt anyone's feelings and don't tell anyone else's story. I think letting Archer be the teller of his own tales one day is the perfect decision.

I, for one, am really looking forward to everything else you have to say.

Jason | 6:31 PM

This was one of the best blogs posts I've ever read by anyone. Simply stunning.

Christina D | 6:42 PM

Balling my eyes out right now. Sooooo beautifully written. Wow. GO Archer Go!

saraspunza | 6:53 PM

Listen lady, you are a poet. You create these masterpieces of feeling, mood, nuance, and soul. You create poems in collage form. They are beautiful. You are a poet.

Anonymous | 7:05 PM

This has to be my favorite post you've ever written. My heart ached for you. After sending my first (and at the time only) daughter to Kindergarten two years ago, I can totally relate. My daughter was all like "Yay!" and I was all "Please still need me? At least a little bit..." She was off like the wind her first day. It is tough, but it gets better. I will miss some of Archer's story, though I can understand your decision. I love seeing pictures of Archer and Fable together. I love seeing how much Archer has grown. You've done an awesome and incredible job, Mama. You should be so proud.

BubbleTeaResa | 7:11 PM

You really are an amazing writer and thank you for sharing Archer.

Skim | 7:25 PM

Beautiful Post Rebecca. And thank you to yourself and Archer for the stories so far. I love them.
Goodluck for school Archer and Fable, love the little thumbs up. Beautiful way to start my Friday.
Sx

Margie | 7:35 PM

Great job on raising a confident and self assured little boy. Cautious and observent to.
Loved your post.

Whit | 7:43 PM

Fantastic.

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 7:53 PM

Thank you all so much. Blown away by your words and love. This post was really difficult to write so your comments mean huge. Thank you for reading, and for your kindness.

joanie | 7:55 PM

Love the high five from the 2 year old.....
;)
In these moments, their growing up is so painfully painful, it defeats articulation.
I hear Lennon's "Beautiful Boy", and i can hardly breathe sometimes.
I myself have 2 boys. So been there, have the t-shirt and bumper sticker.
If that wasn't bad enough, I brought home the book "I love you Forever"
Holy shitballs.
I started reading it to my near 4 yo. Couldn't swallow and choke down the tears well into the 4th page. COMPLETELY surprised me.
Whoa. Crap. None of this was in "What to Expect......."
Hang in there. All us Moms are on the same ride.

joanie | 7:58 PM

:)
i meant the thumbs up from Fable
:)

whoorl | 9:01 PM

Oh, holy heart-swelling. I can't think of any writer on this earth that I would rather read. Truly.

Kristen | 9:07 PM

I read your blog daily and comment, well, never. This post was so beautiful...you captured it all...the beauty of spontaneity with children (such a good reminder for me), the pain/greatness that comes along with the passage of time, and the responsibility of parents to let go. You know how to put it all in words amazingly.

Michele | 9:23 PM

I just found your blog a few months back, and I liked it from the beginning. I've loved your stories, your tips, your pictures. And today I read this and I thought, "I get it." Today I got your writing. Because you're not just blogging here--you've really shown your talent and your heart. Enjoy your private time with your boy. You both deserve it :)

The Last Girl Standing | 9:55 PM

You are an amazing mother. Absolutely amazing. What great little peole you are raising and what a beautiful soul Archer has. I hope you continue to write about Archer, privately, because the love you express in this single post is greater than any love I have received in the entirety of my lifetime... what a great thing for Archer to have not just today but many days into the future.

Fare thee well, little man. The world wide web will miss you but my imagination will continue to ponder all the wonderful things I know you will do in life. You are a remarkable human being, thank you for letting your momma share so much of you with those of us who will never meet you but have been so enthralled by you. You are a knight. A prince. A shining star. Now and forever.

The Last Girl Standing | 9:58 PM

You are an amazing mother. Absolutely amazing. What great little peole you are raising and what a beautiful soul Archer has. I hope you continue to write about Archer, privately, because the love you express in this single post is greater than any love I have received in the entirety of my lifetime... what a great thing for Archer to have not just today but many days into the future.

Fare thee well, little man. The world wide web will miss you but my imagination will continue to ponder all the wonderful things I know you will do in life. You are a remarkable human being, thank you for letting your momma share so much of you with those of us who will never meet you but have been so enthralled by you. You are a knight. A prince. A shining star. Now and forever.

Luna | 10:57 PM

So, so, so beautiful.

Thank you.

Sam | 1:00 AM

Crying now! I wish him all the very best and will be sad to see him depart the blog, but I have so much respect for you for deciding to do this. You are an amazing mother and it's so beautiful to read about, even if what we get is only a portion.

Victoria | 1:34 AM

*Gulp* *Sniff* *Bawl*

What a beautiful post.

Jennifer Howze | 1:48 AM

Really lovely post. Thanks for sharing it.

AnnabelVita | 3:16 AM

Goodbye Archer! We'll miss him so much, but I agree that it's the right time to let him lead his own life. Thank you for this last little glimpse into his wonderful mind.
Now, you'd better have that number three before Fable gets to Kindergarten!
(only joking of course)

Morgan | 3:17 AM

This post was a work of art. Rebecca, thank you for your love and light. What a mother you are.

stef | 3:34 AM

i effing love your posts. love.

Bri | 6:09 AM

That was so beautiful. Thank you.

Kerry | 6:14 AM

You should have another baby, or ten. :-)

Your words are a gift to so many mothers (and fathers). Your ability to transform difficult and uncertain situations to ones of hope are truly inspiring.

I will always wonder what Archer will be when he grows up.

Marie-Ève | 6:32 AM

<3

jive turkey | 6:56 AM

Crying at work. This is so lovely. What a magical little boy, who is so lucky to have you as a mama.

Sara B | 6:59 AM

Love to you as your first baby grows up. (ps nice work taking time out with him. :) )

ThiliBlooms | 7:05 AM

beautiful post.. I wish him all the luck and blessings in this new phase of his/yours life :)
cheer up!

Echo | 7:22 AM

It is so hard to say goodbye! I have been reading your blog and watching Archer grow up for the past several years, I its so lovely to see what a little man he has grown into. You have such a beautiful family and I will definitely miss hearing how Archer is interpreting the world, but I smile knowing he is out there, one little person making a difference.

Erin | 7:27 AM

Sitting here crying at my desk.
"He doesn't belong to me..."
My mind won't let itself absorb that, rejecting it like food poisoning.......I am not ready to think that way about my son! :(

Jason | These Roving Eyes | 7:34 AM

Uuuuuugh. Crying.
Lovely. Really. I hope the last couple of weeks have been a smooth adjustment for you.

Desiree Fawn | 7:49 AM

So lovely -- heartbreaking & heartwarming all at once <3

cyndurella | 8:04 AM

Wow, this is a beautiful post. It made me CRY! Though I understand your reasons, I will so miss reading about him :). He is an amazing little boy, I have often been blown away by the things he says, so wise. I have learned something from you today :) Thank you and good luck to Archer, maybe someday we will all be reading his blog, hehe.

amy | 8:07 AM

rebecca, i've followed you for about a year...just long enough to miss archer. my boys had a hard time saying good bye at his age...my first grader still does. it's better when they don't look back.

Baby in Broad | 8:13 AM

You have a blindingly bright future ahead of you, Archer. I know you'll write a beautiful story. Best of luck, little man!

neysa g | 8:24 AM

beautiful. just absolutely beautiful. i'm now a bawling mess, thankyouverymuch. thank you. perfect.

The 224 Girls | 8:45 AM

Rebecca, I love reading your blog. I'm young and pretty newly married, but have always been so fascinated with "mommy blogs". The way you write makes me look forward to being a mother even more. I love that you savor all your experiences with your kids, and I hope I am able to do the same when the time comes.

Pat T | 8:46 AM

So very beautifully written.. Archer and Fable are so very lucky to have you as their momma.

casadekaloi | 9:25 AM

OH my god, thank you for this. Thank you.

My Bottle's Up! | 9:34 AM

i've read and reread and rereread this post so many times since it went live.

archer's world is beautiful and amazing and unique. i will miss hearing all about his endeavors.

::sniff::

so i'll just have to reread your book and remember the sweetness of your firstborn.

many many well wishes to you all.

Elizabeth | 9:37 AM

So beautiful! I have to reiterate all of the other comments. You're such an amazing writer.

Sydney | 9:56 AM

WOW Rebecca, just WOW.

I really hope you continue to write about Archer like you do in this post, and like you have in the last 5 years, but keep it private. One day he will love reading these posts along with anything else you have written about him.

Thank you so much for sharing Archer's journeys with us for the past 5 years, as much as I will miss hearing about them, I respect your decision and believe it's the right time to stop sharing his story publicly.

Good Luck Archer, in everything that you have to come!

Danielle | 10:09 AM

Hi Rebecca,
I've been following your blog for two years now and I feel so excited for Archer, and so happy that I get to see that little slice of your life. Your piece today just said so much and has me feeling awfully weepy about this phase of being a parent. Thanks for an incredible post. Good luck Archer!

tara | 10:13 AM

i just love this tribute to a boy who is his own boy so very loved by his mom. i'm so touched by the way you allow him to be who he is. not allow, celebrate.

i will miss archer here.

April | 10:43 AM

You are so beautiful. As is your family. I LOVE U!!! :-)

theparakeet | 11:13 AM

wahhhh! thank you for being so honest and heart-felt. good luck this week. my son just turned two and I want to hug him this size forever. oh my....

Norm | 12:47 PM

Daaaaaaaaamn, you are good. This was a really lovely post.

And I agree with sarah doow, the thumbsup from Fable was absolutely the BEST.

Circus Daily | 12:54 PM

you are such a beautiful genuine mother. This line...

"I'm here for him," I remind myself. "I'm in his waiting room, here. I have to take a number."

really sticks with me. Im just now starting my journeys with my two little ones and enjoy these glimpses into our likely similar future through your posts.

congratulations to archer for his first day in the big K and hugs to you for getting him there as the little boy he is.

Lisa | 3:16 PM

This post makes me think of my mother. She kept journals when my sister and I were babies, and she says we can have them when we become mothers. What a treasure these memories will be to Archer someday. The greatest gift you can give him is your love, which is so clearly displayed in your words. I imagine reading my mother's journals someday and I can't help but cry. I can only hope she will still be around so I can tell her how much it means to me.

Best of Luck Archer. We will miss you.

robin | 4:02 PM

That totally made me cry.

Lindy | 5:37 PM

I can't say anything that hasn't already been said. I'm sitting here in the half-dark while my 14 month old little boy sleeps upstairs. My days--filled with teething and halting new words and will-he-please-nap-already exhaustion feels so absolutely removed from kindergarten. Kindergarten is so far away that it might be science fiction for me.

And yet, all I have to do is read your post to realize that it will be here tomorrow.

I don't think I understood before I became a mom just how much of a divided self I would be. In many ways: I'm a mother, but also a pretty driven professor on the tenure track. A wife but also someone whose body has partly belonged to my son until I weaned a couple months ago. And on and on. But the biggest division in some sense is the division between loving my son just as he is right this second, and loving the person he is turning into, whom I can see a little ways off in the distance. The first half of me wants him to stay exactly THIS way. The thought of him getting to be too big to scoop up and snuggle almost breaks my heart. And yet, when I read about Archer--about his kindness and his creativity--I think about how much I want to get to know my little one as a person in his own right.

Okay, must stop babbling. This post just really, really moved me. You are an amazing communicator. I will miss Archer's presence.

rachel | 5:54 PM

I cried right along with you, or after you, whatever the case. I see my 7 year-old and try to hold and keep every moment we share becasue they are all meaningful. Even if he doesn't know it. Hugs to you.

Armonia | 9:11 PM

The love as a mother comes thru clearly in your words. once again you made me cry and expressed what us as mothers feel for our children, We must let them be as Our parents let us be us :)
love how you write Rebecca I hope you continue doing so for a very long time

AmandaJo | 10:44 AM

Oh, I'll miss him so. Is that weird? To feel like you know this boy you've never met, who doesn't even know you exist?

He is an amazing boy. He is the idol I have for MY son, who's just 10 months old now and the absolute light of my life.

I hope he has fun on his adventures. We'll still be here pulling for Team Archer. Maybe he'll feel us- a big, invisible support system behind a beautiful boy in his super radass shoes. I hope he will.

Elle Vee | 10:51 AM

Such an emotionally articulate post. Thank you for sharing it. And thanks for sharing your little Archer with us for a while. You offer your readers daily gifts of perspective. I'm going to go hug my little dude right now. Because I can.

Ashley | 12:25 PM

This was just way too beautiful. Thank you.

jessica | 3:56 PM

very touching. and wow how hard is that going to be?? archer will say something adorable and or insightful and you will be like Dear bloggy friends, nothing happened today. the end.
that is going to be hard but i think you are doing the right thing. you aren't exactly anonymous and you wouldn't want to embarrass him so kudos to you for knowing when to say when.
i will miss him dearly. i've watched him grow from a baby who couldn't talk (omg is he delayed? is he autistic?)into a bright big brother with a quirky style. goodbye archer. thanks for the time we had.

Fuzzzy318 | 6:29 PM

i cried when i read this post -- i felt the same way when i left my "baby" at kindergarten 3 1/2 weeks ago. he was holding my hand and then when he walked through the doors of the school it was like he grew up and let go and said, "it's ok, mom, i don't need to hold your hand." it took all i had not to cry right there and say "but i need to hold yours. . ." it seems like since then there's something everyday that takes him more into the "big boy" world and out of "mommy's baby" world. it's a blessing and a curse, this whole growing up thing.

Jen | 7:15 PM

I remember your post on his 4th birthday and now I will remember this one. I am holding back tears. It was so beautifully written and I LOVED it. Thank you for sharing Archer with us and I know I will miss hearing about your little muse.

EdenSky | 7:52 PM

You're raising an amazing young man. Wishing Archer all the best in his future adventures.

KJ in Aus | 1:15 AM

Wow! Absolutely divine writing.

I was breastfeeding my own little boy (11 months) while reading this and cried rivers!

Archer, you are an amazing little man. You and your Mommy are so lucky to have one another.

Kate | 12:51 PM

I feel invested as a long-time reader eventhough I comment rarely. Maybe one day Archer will read your archives and understand how many people(many, like myself, strangers) have believed in him and the places he would go from the very beginning of his life. I hope this skews the curve on his view of humanity in some positive way. I have enjoyed the Archerisms and appreciate you for having shared.

OC wanderer | 12:52 PM

OMG I love your writing! I usually scroll down at pics of other blogs but your blog, I have to read everything!

GirltoMom | 4:15 PM

Beautiful writing. Beautiful love.

-Heidi Ferrer

motherbumper | 5:04 PM

I love reading you. Love.

Chelsea | 5:29 PM

wow, what a great relationship you guys have. I love that shot of the two of you!

clueless but hopeful mama | 5:49 PM

This was perfect.

Much props to you for honoring Archer's story, in every way.

(ps. His shoes? ROCK.)

GingerB | 10:55 PM

I'll be sad to hear less of Archer but at least we'll still have Fable. That should sound like " we'll always have Paris." We'll always have Fabele, at least for a couple of years.

Kate | 8:50 AM

Well, that settles it. You'll have to have at least 1 more baby just to keep your writing material going. Just kidding, people. Seriously, though, you do have a gift with words. It's interesting to me to see where bloggers who write about their children (you, Dooce, others) are going with their content as their kids get older. I totally respect what you're doing, but I will say that it's all a bit tricky, isn't it, because "his story" will often times be your story, too. It's one thing to omit things that he might be embarrassed by later. It will be much harder on you to omit things that are going on with him that are very much at the heart of what is going on in your own life at any given moment, too, you know? Ahhh, so tricky. Especially seeing as how there are plenty of people out there who think we're all bad people/bad moms for writing blogs about our children in the first place. (Obviously, I disagree. My point is just that there's no clear right answer on some of this stuff.)

Anonymous | 9:39 AM

That was so simply beautiful! My daughter just started elementary school too and you captured the thoughts and moments perfectly. I will miss hearing about Archer - what a neat kid! Best to you and your family and thank you!

Lara | 11:40 AM

Oh man, that one got me! The picture of Archer as a baby reminds me so much of my baby boy (8 months now) - I can't believe that before I know it he'll be starting kindergarten!
I'm sad to see Archer go from your blog, but I'm excited for him as he begins to write his own adventures . . .

Anonymous | 4:07 PM

Beautiful post. Excellent writing. That's all I can say.

Amanda | 4:27 PM

Oh my God, LOVE THIS. So wonderfully written - I cannot believe he's already in kindergarten - in some small way, between reading your book and reading this blog, I feel like I've been a part of his life since the beginning too (stupid, I know). We love Archer!

Katie | 12:59 PM

You are beautiful. And I love you.

Ray | 11:21 PM

Oh, Rebecca! This entry is AMAZING! It made me cry. And knowing that this is Archer's last entry makes me want to sob. Thank you so much for sharing your TRULY AMAZING BOY with us. Thank you. This is now one of my all-time favorite entries from you.

Your entries about your children always make me long for a kid of my own. Even when I swear I won't have any.

Once again, thank you. <3 I haven't read you from the beginning, but I can always go back and read about Baby Archer. ;o)

Ray | 11:25 PM

P.S. I know how you feel about school uniform and I love how you accessorized Archer’s uniform with those killer socks and sneakers (plus the book bag). BAD ASS!! =D

spicylikeginger | 11:18 PM

Thank goodness you are a mom.

Anonymous | 6:22 PM

bummer for us, but very respectable and understandable. all the best for archer!

Rachael | 2:23 PM

Good Lord, this just about killed me. We'll miss Archer around here, but how wonderful and exciting that he's on to the next phase of his life. You turned out to be such an awesome Mom, he's lucky!

Elizabeth @claritychaos | 9:52 PM

I come by here every now and then, and have read your book and really love your writing. This post really struck me tonight. I have three boys, and my oldest is just 7, in 1st grade this year. I have been feeling the same way about sharing him publicly as you describe about Archer, and your point about them not being ours is painfully true. I just re-read tonight a post I wrote about my son starting kindergarten last year. It's surprising how powerful these emotions are, isn't it?

Anonymous | 9:52 AM

Okay, now I know I'm going to have to read more of your blog (I came to it for the first time, five minutes ago), because your kid's favorite song is by The Polyphonic Spree.

They are my favorite band, but lately I've felt like maybe I'm one of their last remaining fans.

Come to think of it, if your kid is entering kindergarden, he's been alive for only a fraction of the time that the Spree have been my favorite band. Crazy and awesome!

Some kind of cosmic force made me skim to that part of your blog, and wonder what your kid's favorite song was. It could have been anything! But it was something that is also so dear to me.

:D

vickichristine | 4:46 PM

i came across this post as i was, again, using your search tool (hooray! hooray!) to find tattoo posts. for no reason in particular. anyway, i'm trying really hard not to cry now. i'm at work. this post was just so beautiful - to say that archer does not belong to you is beyond wise and wonderful. i hope a can remember that when/if i have children. they are their own. what a lucky boy. xo

Anna S. | 10:32 PM

The most beautiful love letter from mother to son that I have ever read. Archer is a lucky boy to have a momma who loves and appreciates him the way that you do. Such an incredible view from your eyes, watching him grow. Thank you for sharing.

Riss | 6:43 PM

Waaaaaahhhh....!!! Moving. Love the intertwining of the two moments, ever moving forward and making room for new moments, but leaving behind the ones we treasure now. Your perspective as a mom is honoring and I love that you let him show you his world. That is something you will always hold.