Despite all the promises that sending her to school would get easier, that I would love all the free time, for me all I could think was “when Kindergarten feels like the beginning of the end.” One year under our belt and the twinge of sadness remains…
This was it. This was really it. I mean, I had known this day was coming for over 5 years now. So many moments I had thought I couldn’t wait for this day. During those endless nights spent breastfeeding a crying child. In the midst of the trying threes when she cried over everything. I thought…I mean I ACTUALLY thought to myself, I can’t wait for the school years.
Maybe a little break when she goes to Kindergarten and I’ll be able to have more than 5 minutes to myself.
I still can’t believe I thought that. EVER! Because as the day approached, as each “Welcome” letter, and “Yay It’s Your First Year of School” email slowly trickled into my house, I found myself clinging tighter to the past, holding on longer as I hugged her, kissing her a little extra, crying a lot more.
She was 5 and it was time – time for her to start Kindergarten. This is normal, I told myself. Kids go to school…and the ones who don’t, end up with parents in jail. This is the natural order of things. A little time away from mom will be good for her. Let her spread her wings as they say. Oh, the day will fly, other moms told me. Before you know it, it will be time to pick her up again.
She will LOVE Kindergarten they told me. Probably won’t even miss me.
Give yourself a week or two to get acclimated and you will love all the time you have to yourself. Time to spend with her younger sister. Time, time, time.
And then the day came. Last Year…she started Kindergarten. A sunny bright day in August.
And I want to go back to all of those people and yell as loudly as I can…You were wrong! This isn’t right! This can’t be natural – to nurture and care for this little being for the first 5 years of their life and then have them taken from you for 6 hours a day.
To me, it felt like the beginning of the end.
After all those precious moments with just us two – the time we spent, the memories we shared, the laughter she brought me…now she was going to be gone 9am – 3pm, 5 days a week, 9 months out of the year.
FOREVER…or at least until she graduated high school. And we all know that after high school, things just get uglier. She will go off to college, find an amazing career, fall in love with an amazing guy. Move out, get married…
That’s what she will do. All this Kindergarten thing is doing is setting her up to move on. Move away…Because once this school thing starts, the time I already thought was galloping away at an alarming rate is going to go into high gear. The time we have just us two or with me as a Mom to two “little” girls is going, going, going…Time, Time, Time.
Time I can’t get back. Time I can’t seem to stop. Time I can remember and relive but can’t seem to capture in a bottle.
She is moving on. And as first grade approaches, she has a little excitement but would rather stay home with me. But those feelings will grow fainter as the years pass by…I know it in my mind even if my heart refuses to believe it.
Yeah, I know, this IS the natural order of things. We love our children and prepare them for the “real” world so they CAN move on, move away, make wonderful lives for themselves. Marry, love, and have their own wonderful children.
But why does it seem so unnatural? When is it going to get easier? When will I feel “ready” for summer to be over? “Ready” to have that break from my kids? Ready for them to be away from me all day?
I know, some people will say I’m crazy. That they think I’m living in some idealistic world where I pretend my daughters are perfect or that we always get along. But that’s not the case. My daughters are human and more importantly, so am I. We make mistakes every day – let each other down, argue, get upset over silly things.
But I know, these are the moments we don’t get back. These are the days that will go slowly as the years whiz by.
This is the time we are given with our kids, when they look up to us, want to be us, and want to be WITH us. This is the time to be the best version of me…the time to walk away from my phone or the computer or the bills. And to sit with my little girls and play…and talk…and laugh. This is the time.
Because we don’t get it back. Kindergarten has started…the end of this “time” will come to an end both slowly and quickly. Before I know it, I will turn around and my little girl will be waving bye to me as she heads to her dorm room. She will be smiling at me with joy when she introduces me to “The One.” She will be blowing me a kiss as she walks down the aisle. Time will have moved on.
The end of that relationship will be over…but I believe a new one will begin. And I do believe it will be just as special as the one we have now. It will be different, but good.
She will be independent, she won’t need me for everything like she does now.
But I think she will still NEED me.
So I will embrace this new school year, and every one after that, with a stoic face. I will let her know that I am here…even when she is at school…I am here. She can call me. Even when she doesn’t need me, I’m here. Even when she doesn’t want me, I’m here. And even if I don’t need to tie her shoes, or braid her hair, or buy her ice cream, I am here.
And even when kindergarten feels like the beginning of the end, I will tell myself it’s not. Because our relationship will grow and change and evolve…just like her with each new school year.
That in the end, she will always be my baby and I will always be her mom and every beginning will give us a new ending…one that we will write as we go.
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