It’s the fourth week of school, so you would think that I’d be over crying at drop-off. And yet, I am not….which is actually kind of surprising, considering I’m not the most sentimental of moms and this is our third time experiencing the whole Kindergarten thing.
I blame it on turning forty. The hormones, the exhaustion…I’m just a mess.
I cried again this morning – I just can’t help myself. There’s no winning here. Of course, I cried the first day. Thank goodness Emry pulled herself together before getting out of the car. It was close, and had she dissolved into tears it would have been over, ugly cry and all. I cried the second day, because I dropped her off with her brother, and they held hands as they walked into the building. I cried the second week, because after some small hesitation, she turned and walked into the entrance closer to her class per her brother’s orders. I cried the third week as she bounced out of the car, running with confidence to her door, backpack and curls bouncing in tandem. And I cried this morning, as I have done every time she turns and holds her little hand up to say “I love you” in sign language.
This year may kill me.
It’s been an unpleasant surprise, this overly emotional response of mine. Like I said, she’s our third kid. We’ve done the Kinder transition before. This is not new, or scary, or intimidating to us as parents. She’s an incredibly smart and confident child. She doesn’t cry or ask to stay home. She’s enjoying her friends, loves her teacher, and is so excited to be a big kid that she basically bubbles over with the enthusiasm of it at all times.
I’m ready for her to be in school. I’m over the toddler thing (no offense, mothers of littles and those just getting started. It’s all precious, it is. But when you’re done, you’re done. I’m in a place where I no longer have the energy or desire for that phase of life. We all get there at some point). I love that she’s learning new things and making new friends. I love that she loves to do her homework, and has to pull every single thing out of her backpack to review it the second she gets home. I love hearing about the cafeteria, and which specials class she attended, and who played with whom at recess. I love that we are in a daily, structured routine, and she goes to school each day just like her brothers.
She’s a big girl now.
And I think that’s the part that’s getting me. Because, as emotional as I was when our first child went to Kindergarten, I didn’t fully know what that meant. I didn’t realize how fast the time would fly. People tell you, but you can’t properly grasp it until you live it. It feels like I blinked one day and “poof!” – Luke’s in middle school. My mother told me this would happen on his first day of elementary school. I was horrified, and a little upset with her for the cruel honesty.
I’m ready for her to be in big kid school. I am nowhere near ready to poof her into middle school.
The night before the first day of school, I stood in each child’s room, praying over them as they slept. I stayed in Emry’s the longest, not because my boys are less important, but because her life change moment was the biggest this time. Her curls were spread over her pillow. Her backpack was full and ready to go. Her outfit and shoes were neatly lined up by the door. She had both hands clasped under her face, tightly holding her snuggle blanket to her chest. It’s an image I’ll treasure forever. My eyes filled with tears as they traveled over her face, drinking in each detail. Then, I found myself smiling, as I noticed the final touch. Her teacher had handed out “magic confetti” at Meet the Teacher night, promising it would chase away all the nervous or fearful thoughts for good sleep before their first day. There it was, her sparkly charm, placed carefully on her pillow for maximum effect.
My heart lifted at the sight. Yes, she’s a big girl. But she’s still got room to be my baby; to cuddle with teddy bears and blankets, giggle at butterflies and believe in magic and fairy tales. I’ll be encouraging those things with all my might. There’s no need to hurry through the stages.
And I’ll cry at drop-off tomorrow, I’m sure. That’s okay. It’s a mommy’s prerogative, and part of my growing up process as well.
Solidarity, sisters. we all grow up sometime.