This week marked the start of first grade for my daughter. This beginning also means I am saying goodbye.
Once upon a time there was a little three and half-year old girl who wanted to go to school because she watched Nemo get so excited about the prospect attending school. She announced to me, “Momma, I can’t wait to go to school like Nemo. School, Momma, when are we going?” She didn’t quite grasp the concept of school and what it meant. When we dropped her off at pre-school, she carried her pink lunch box and backpack as she entered the doors. We escorted her into the classroom and met her teacher. “Goodbye, honey! Have a good day at school!” I said these words to her, my bottom lip quivering, holding back tears. As soon as I turned around to leave, she started crying. “Momma, I don’t want you to go. Please stay.” The teacher told us that this was a typical reaction and everything would be fine. We watched her for thirty minutes outside the pre-school window, hoping that in the next minute she would stop crying. Eventually drop-off’s to preschool transitioned into a smoother process.
Three years later she enters first grade. In the morning she could not hold it all in. “Momma, I am so excited for first grade. Can you believe it Momma? I am in first grade.” Every time she said this, my heart ached a little. As we pulled up to the school, she didn’t wait for me. Her long limbs raced up the school door. “Wait! I want to take a picture of you.” I snap a few shots as her patience evaporates. “Come on Momma! I want to begin first grade.” Her voice carried the air of a command. We approach her classroom door and she emptied her backpack, says hello to a few friends, and without a single moment of hesitation, she says, “Bye Momma.” Even before I realize what happened, I see my little girl running away from me and toward the playground. I expect her to look at me one more time or charge me with a hug or kiss, but none of those things happen. Instead, I stalk my daughter by following her to the playground to catch one more glimpse of her. She is swinging on the monkey bars and laughing.
I whisper goodbye in a small voice. She is not mine. She is becoming a part of the world.
Aww so sweet and beautiful. xoxo
Ahhhh – well they (our children) are never really “ours.” But they are always a part of us, we course through their veins, we echo in their hearts, we love them in a such a large, incomprehensible way. We bring them into the world and so, of course, they become part of that world. Sounds to me like you’ve done a fantastic job so far, mom – she’s happy and confident and ready to “begin.” She’ll have so many beginnings and lucky you – you’ll be there to share them with her – even if it is sometimes, through the proverbial playground fence.
This is such a touching post. I remember the first day of first grade for each of my children. I remember the feeling of them slipping from my hand. Okay now this is me tearing up.
It is so hard to let them go. This is the first year that I am happy they are going back to school!!! 🙂
My daughter is starting kindergarten and is having lots of anxiety over it. I think this way is harder. Be happy that she is comfortable going to school and is happy about it. So I have the letting go part that is killing me AND the fact that she doesnt want to go twisting my insides.