With school starting in just a few short weeks, I am full of emotions. Summer has been wonderful, fun, lazy, chaotic, and active. With tears, tantrums, bored kids, and so much noise. The perfectly imperfect summer that is a Stay-at-home-Mom with three young-ish kids. This year is a big time for me, my youngest Gavin is starting Kindergarten! I mean, when did this happen? I have an 8, 6, and 5 year old. I knew this day would come and I am feeling so much with this milestone. I know that this is a step away from my typical home decor, craft and DIY theme post around here. However, it is something that is on my mind and I cannot shake it. We will be back to regularly scheduled programming with all things home decor tomorrow. I wrote this when Nora started kindergarten and realized I never shared it on the blog. I know I am not the only parent having the anxiety, sadness, excitement, nerves, and pride for our littles going back to school. First day of Kindergarten, or with older kids…. there are so many emotions with the direct proof of our children getting older. With each day, school year, milestone checked off, it is one step closer to them becoming adults. It has left me to wonder, will they keep me? A Mom’s back to school thoughts…
It all felt wrong. I stood there watching my daughter get on the bus, her first day of Kindergarten was here. I watched in awe of my tiny girl, going up the steps. They were so much bigger than her, she struggled to even get to the top. She made it, sat in her seat, then turned to the window and waved. I smiled, giggling at her excitement. The doors to the bus closed, and it drove off. My heart lurched into my stomach. The bus was driving away with my child, she was on it, without me. I panicked, it was so wrong.
I calmed myself quickly, this was the plan. We discussed the options and my budding independent lady wanted to ride the bus to and from school. I knew this would happen. The nagging feeling was so strong though. How would I know she got to school ok? How would I know she found her classroom? What if she got lost? There was so many possibilities, bad things that could happen. Why did I let her do this?
I had grown her inside of me. Thought over everything I ate, measured the amount of water I drank. All for her. I went through the most pain I will ever feel, been exhausted beyond belief. All for her. I had held her, fed her, cuddled her, loved her. Watched over her for 5 years. I was there for every moment, big or small. She was it for me. Her two younger brothers filling even more of my heart once they came along.
I knew this day would come. I celebrated every tiny milestone of her little life. Eagerly saw her sit up, crawl, walk, talk, giggle, that first smile melted me, cheering her on along the way. It was all in preparation for this. Her going off on her own. Granted it was just kindergarten, but this was in preparation for bigger things; more life altering moments to come. I knew that if I did my job right she would be ready for them. After all, I only get to keep her for a small time in her life. She is not mine forever, she is the world’s, she is her own. This is my time with her, and I was giving up a piece of that now that she was starting school.
I had to trust what I taught her, the lessons she had already learned in her short life. The independence I had encouraged in her. The knowledge that she eagerly wanted this. She craved the time alone, the responsibility of riding the bus. Of going to her classroom, packing her own back pack at the end of the day. She asked for this, I did too. I asked to be a parent, wanted it, dreamed of it, and pinched myself when I knew I was pregnant. I asked to have a baby, cuddle a toddler, but most importantly raise a person. My three kids are little people, budding people. But simply people, no matter how big or small. With their own future, destiny and plans. It is just my job to get them there, I have to let them walk their own path. Even if I want to line their path with pillows, ask if they want snacks, and make them wear a helmet.
There will be so many instances of the heartache that is parenthood. This was the first milestone that hurt. Her going away, leaving, experiencing things without me. Her not needing me. That pangs me now to even write. This is a sign of a job well done, isn’t this when I pat myself on the back? All I could do is watch where the bus had gone, calculating where in town it was. Imagining her trek from the bus to the classroom. As I sat to eat lunch with my two little boys I thought of her too. Looked at her place at the table, and wondered if she was ok. Did she have someone to sit with, could she open her containers in her lunch box? Did she find the note I left her? Did she miss me?
I realized I did not want her to. I hoped she was gleefully not thinking of me, giggling with her budding friendships, excited to learn, setting up her desk. I craved for her to be happily independent, without me. I wanted her to not need me.
I got through the day and was waiting at the bus stop 15 minutes before it was due to arrive. If I was there early would it come sooner? I finally saw the bus, I saw her. She jumped off the bus and ran to me, giving me the best hug ever. She was excited and talking a mile a minute. She held her still tiny hand in mine the whole walk home, telling me everything. I took it all in, took all of her in.
We had made it! She loved her school, teacher, classroom. But, she also came home wanting to tell me it all. She may have not needed me for her first day, but she wanted me. That filled my heart. See, I may be raising my kids for the world, only keeping them for a short time. My hope and goal is that they still want to keep me. They still want me, not need; but want.
I gave her a snack, overheard her brothers asking questions about her day. Their relationship and friendship is for another day to explain and break down. I opened her back pack, it was empty. She may not need me for school, but remembering to bring her lunch box home is another thing. She may be ready for school, for a little more experience out in the world. However she still needed me, my job was not done!
I am assuming that as the year goes on the bus driving away each morning will hurt less. The pain of her leaving me will become a dull ache. I know now it will always be there. You cannot love and raise children to then let them grow up without feeling a little pang of sadness. They are a literal piece of me, that I have to let go. I will also always shove that pain down, encourage and smile their achievements and independence, ignoring my pain of each step and where it will lead them. It will lead them away from me, hoping they will one day choose to keep me. I will also report that by the end of my daughters first week she had forgotten her lunch box 2 times and lost one sweater. I still have some work to do before she is ready for the world.
**Whew, we got through that, we got through my middle child going to kindergarten and I am sure I will have even more to say about my youngest going onto that bus, all three of my children onto bigger and better things. I will keep those thoughts locked away for now because we are a few weeks away from the first day of school here. For now it is back to swimming, sand castle building, giggles, and definitely a few extra hugs now that I know school is closing in on us. I hope you enjoyed, Will she keep me, A Mom’s back to school thoughts and are patient with my overwhelming thoughts on my kids and me not sharing any home decor ideas today. Some days you cannot change course, and today my little ones becoming not so little anymore is on this Mama’s brain.
If you are a parent, do you look forward to the school year or have a hard time sending them off? Am I being sooo dramatic here? Tell me the truth.