“I’m going to Kindergarten today!” my third child yelled at me when I opened her bedroom door Tuesday morning.
Indeed. She was already dressed and rolling around on her bed, throwing her stuffed giraffe in the air.
It was the day I had been waiting for, counting down, dreaming about. The day all three of my children would be in school, at the same time. The closets I could clean! The work I could do without interruption or guilt! The meals I would plan! (Ok, maybe I’m getting a little ambitious) Plus, it was like getting a raise. For the first time in years, I wouldn’t be paying for preschool or childcare. Visions of new shoes danced in my head!
But really, it was about freedom. Freedom from chasing a toddler, inventing random trips to Target to kill time, or playing “Little People” for hours on end. (I was running out of Little People story lines- there’s only so much Eddie and Sonya Lee can do) It was freedom for her, too. No more mother hovering. Finally she could do what the big kids do, like eating lunch at school. Which, according to the third child, is the best part of Kindergarten.
As we walked to school together, she skipped over lines on the sidewalk and chattered on about seeing friends. She grabbed my hand and swung it as she walked. Suddenly, her plump cheeks and lips didn’t look so babyish. When did her legs get so long? And who taught her that Iggy Azalea song? (Curse you, “Fancy”)
At the Kindergarten door, she hugged her teacher, cautiously looked around and found a seat at a table. Parents gushed and took pictures. When we kissed her goodbye and told her to have a good day she answered with a happy “I will!” No tears, no hesitation.
I was the one who suddenly hesitated, and the feeling hit me like a ton of bricks. This wasn’t my first time at the ‘ol Kindergarten rodeo, mind you. I dropped off two kids before her. It was always a new and happy beginning – I had no problem scooting them through the door and leaving. But I always had a smaller child on my hip. I knew I would experience the Kindergarten shuffle again in a few years.
But this time when I dropped off a child, I didn’t have another one. It was just me, with my list of things to do. Which was still liberating and exciting. And suddenly sad at the same time. It was the realization that I wasn’t just finishing a chapter, I was moving on to the next section of the book. The baby days were done and believe me, I’m not looking forward to the teen years. Suddenly my eyes welled up. Must have been allergies.
At the end of the first day, we picked up our Kindergarten queen. She knew all the class rules and of course, when lunch would be. Hard to be sad, when someone is so happy and exactly where she needs to be.
Now, time for some shoe shopping.