I cried today. Your Daddy would tell you that’s not something alarming. After all, I’ve always expressed myself through tears. When I get mad – I cry. Excessively happy – here come the waterworks. Frustrated…better grab yourself an umbrella because the forecast is calling for some heavy downpours.
So again, tears are not something that tend to phase the people in my life.
But today? Today I cried looking at the calendar. Today I cried because I counted the number of days left before I pack your lunch box for the first time in seventeen months, help you fit the straps to the brand new Paw Patrol backpack we picked out together on your narrow shoulders and drop you off for your first day of kindergarten. And there just don’t seem to be enough time between now and then.
And I’m scared baby. Probably more scared than you are. Because you’re not just stepping away from me for the school day. You’re stepping away from babyhood and into a new world of childhood we haven’t yet faced. You’re my first baby. This is our first step into this brave new world and I long for nothing more than to hold you here in the safe cocoon of my arms just a little bit longer.
Because you see, it’s a first for me too, baby. The first time you’ve been away from me five days a week rather than the three day week of preschool
. The first time I let you go after months upon months of quarantining together as a family. The first time I won’t get updates and photos on the school’s app from your preschool teacher letting me know how you are.
The first steps you ever took as a baby were toward me. As your Daddy helped steady you on your chubby, unsteady little legs, you grinned and reached for me, taking your first steps into my outstretched arms.
And in just a few short days you’ll take your first steps away from them.
I’m not nearly as excited as I thought I would be back in the early days of 2020 when the world shut down. As long summer months dragged on, and we decided not to send you back to your preschool the following year, I dreamt of the day you and your brother would be back in person and I would finally be able to rest. To not worry about teaching you all the things I have no idea how to teach you, and filling the long days
when we couldn’t go anywhere to pass the time. I thought longingly of the moment when you’d once again return to school.
But now those days are fast approaching and I pray for the hours to pass a little slower. I long to keep you here beside me where I know you’re safe and I can enjoy your sweet smile every day. It’s that strange contradiction of motherhood, and it makes my heart so weary.
I stay up late at night worrying about sending you back into the world. I worry about the virus that once again grows as a threat around us. I worry that your teacher won’t understand you and your sensitive soul. I worry that, like me, you won’t make friends easily. I worry that you’ll be lonely, or that you miss me. I worry that your little brothers will miss you, for as much as you fight and bicker amongst each other, an unshakable bond has formed over the last year and a half and I don’t know what you’ll do without each other.
But I also know how much you’ve missed the company of other children your age. I see you approaching other children at the park, your thirst for their company eclipsing your nerves around new people. And I pray from the bottom of my soul that kindergarten fills all the empty spaces that have been so neglected in the past months.
I pray that you flourish, and that your teachers can teach you all the things mommy struggled with. They certainly couldn’t do any worse than Mommy’s late night Googling of “sight words” and “how to teach a five-year-old how to tell time”.
My heart aches when you cry and say you don’t want to go to ‘big school’. I try to smile and tell you all the exciting things you’ll find there, but inside I don’t want you to go either. Nothing can prepare you for these agonizing moments of motherhood as you’re trying to smile through your own sorrow to comfort your child.
But know this baby boy. Amidst all my doubts and fears, there’s one certainty I cling to that brings me immense comfort. And that’s my certainty that no matter where you are and what you’ll face, you’re going to shine. You are off to do great things in the world, and this is your first step. And I will be there at the end of every day with your favorite snacks, eager to hear all about your new adventure. And even more eager to wrap you up once more in my arms.
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