When I got my daughter’s acceptance letter to Pre-K, I’ll admit, I was excited. I enjoy being home with my daughter, but it’s been a long four years of dedicating my days to her. My life has been centered around Nick Jr. and playdates at the park for longer than humanly tolerable. I find myself cringing at the thought of creating one more Pinterest-inspired project or going to one more story time at the library.
So this weekend, filled with thoughts of how much more time I will have to myself come September, I set out to gather all the school supplies my munchkin will need to begin her academic career. She squealed at the pink folders adorned with cute little puppies and kittens and she just had to have the metallic Princess pencil case.
As we perused the aisles trying to find all the items on the list, my daughter’s trepidation about starting school quickly turned to excitement, especially when she came upon a pink Barbie back pack. I on the other hand, started to feel a slight knot in my throat and my stomach began to tighten. All the joy I felt about my daughter starting school dissipated and I was flooded with memories of holding her snug to my bosom right after she was born to bring her body temperature up. I was brought back to when she said her first word and took her first step.
My daughter will likely be my last child and watching her stand in front of me wearing her too big Barbie back pack, had me wishing I could turn back the hands of time. I just want to see her pre-teeth gummy smile one more time and watch her take those first shaky steps as she stumbles towards me. Now that it’s almost time to let her go so I can get some of me back, all I want to do is cling to her and keep her with me just a little while longer.
All I can think of now is all the things I’m going to miss when she goes off to school. Like snuggling in the bed on cold winter mornings and drinking hot cocoa. I’ll miss our impromptu trips to the mall to get our nails done or to visit the pet store. I’ll miss watching her personality grow and change right before my eyes. If I’m being totally honest, I’m also going to miss being the main person in her world. Now she will have friends and teachers to add to her circle. I’m not sure where I will fit into her life now. (Crazy, I know, but my baby is turning into a big girl, I can be a little irrational and melodramatic!)
I’m terrified, wondering what exactly am I going to do with myself when all the kids are at school?
What is my role now? For four years my life has revolved around this little pint size person. I can see now that our lives became enmeshed and at some point I lost my identity in motherhood. I’m not even sure I still know how to conduct myself in adult only environments anymore.
It never dawned on me that my daughter going to Pre-K was going to be a transition for both of us. I have always longed to be at a stage in life where my children are less dependent on me. However, now that we are at that stage, it feels strange. The looming freedom is bittersweet because it means I have to accept that my children are indeed growing up and they in fact are needing me less and less.
I know I will adapt and I know I will be able to reinvent who I am. In the meantime though, I’m lamenting over the fact that all my babies are now school aged-kids. I’m not sure what that will mean or how it will change how my family operates. The only thing I know for sure at this moment is that everyone was right, it really does go by too fast.