I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’ve been worrying about this for years. It probably started within their first year of life. I’m supposed to let them go? Loosen my grip? Put them in the hands of other people that I don’t know and trust that they will be cared for as well as I will care for them? Do I really have to send them to school? I used to tell Chad that he would have to take a week off work when Charlie started Kindergarten just to support me.
We had time, though. Let’s not dwell on it.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, the day arrived. The day I’d been dreading. The First Day Of School.
Over the last week, I drove Charlie and Chanelle to their respective schools, unclasped my fingers from their tiny hands, turned around, and walked away.
It started last Friday with Charlie.
I was feeling pretty confident the morning of his first day. We had been to his school a couple of days before and met his teacher, toured his classroom, ate lunch, and found his locker. Within moments of stepping into the school I had fallen in love. (We open enrolled Charlie to a school about 30 min. from our home for reasons that I won’t go into now and this was my first exposure.) Chad knew the school well as it was his childhood school and I adored the quaint little building in the beautiful little community immediately.
|Exploring his locker at orientation|
After a quick photo, we jumped in the car for the 30 min. drive to school. The drive down was like any drive with silly chatter and intermittent song requests, except for a few nervous questions from Charlie. . . Did you pack my folder? Did you remember my lunch? All was calm as we drove into the parking lot and parked the car. The three of us climbed out of the car and marched up to the awaiting principal who would escort the children to their classrooms. That’s when it happened. . . the lump.
Dang, that lump.
I have no pictures of his first day. No photograph of him standing with his backpack and name tag outside the school with all the other anxious Kindergartners. Nothing. The lump won. I quickly handed him off, kissed the top of his head and turned my back just in time for the first tears to fall as I headed back to the car.
Chanelle and I exited the parking lot and her happy chatter continued from the backseat while I tried to compose myself with silent tears falling from my eyes. The tears fell, that is, until I glanced in the rear view mirror and saw my too cool for school 3-year old. . .
. . . and I started laughing. It was a jolt back to reality reminding me to enjoy this precious little one who still needs all of me. We had a nice afternoon painting, playing, and partaking in a little retail therapy. Chanelle needed new shoes for school and how could we pass up her very first pair of toe socks?
|She thought she was “the stuff” with these socks|
Before we knew it Charlie was home and he had survived and so had we. And just three days later we got to do it again for Chanelle’s first day.
Oh, my little girl was ready and really, so was I. She was going to the preschool Charlie had attended. She was familiar with it and there really wasn’t nervousness at all. She excitedly got dressed and strapped on her backpack and seemed unaffected by this new schedule. The expert, Charlie, made sure she knew that he used to go to that school so it was still, kind of, his school.
So on Monday they both got ready and we did the porch picture once again.
Chad and I walked out of the classroom and my eyes were clear of any sort of moisture, knowing that she was happy and excited. Then I stepped out of the classroom and it came back. . . the lump.
That stinkin’ lump.
Seriously? What is this about? Out of nowhere the tears streamed down my face as I walked away from my little girl who really isn’t little anymore. Why does this always happen?
I think I know.
Something happens in my mind when these transitions take place. Call it intrusive thoughts, irrational thinking, or plain old over emotionalism. . . It is what it is. In my mind I get flashes of the tiny little babies that were placed in my arms after carrying them with me for nine months. I see the gaze of big curious eyes after the giant push that brought their screaming lungs into the world. I see chubby cheeks and bottles hanging from their mouths. I see first steps and first falls. I see bald heads and the wide eyes of discovery. In my mind, I see it all from the very beginning and I am overwhelmed.
That’s when the tears fall. How did they get this big?
I wish I could be one of those mom’s that can do these transitions without tears. That would probably be the healthier way to be. I’m just not her, though. I’m learning to accept that and just go with it.
It’s funny, though. There is not one part of me that would have had these days different. I am filled with excitement about the new worlds that are being opened to them. I anticipate, with excitement, watching them discover, grow, and find their passions. I am truly, in the deepest parts of me, happy for them. But still, I cry.
This will likely be our reality. My reality and theirs. I can fight it or just accept it. It’s easier to just accept it. I can see it now on their graduation day. . .
Why is your mom crying?
Oh, don’t mind her. . . she’s fine. . . she always cries.