I sent my baby to Kindergarten on Monday.
I sent my little girl to Kindergarten.
I sent THIS little bundle of love to Kindergarten.
How is that possible? It was a blink ago, I promise. It’s not that she is really “gone,” obviously, but it is the first of many steps in letting go. You hear it all the time. Cherish each day; it goes so fast. But when you’re in the middle of it, it doesn’t feel fast. The lonely nights from 1-5 am, feel like they’re never going to end. The hour before my husband gets home seems to drag with the kind of steady defiance reserved for acts like putting their shoes on when I am in a hurry or picking up their rooms, one lego at a painful time. And yet I took my baby to Kindergarten Monday.
She has always operated at her own pace. Although my body and my midwife told me, “Any day now,” three weeks before her due date, she came twelve days late. Although the moon was high, the house still and dark, she was hungry and restless. While all infants were napping, she decided to announce her independence by fighting me for two hours, only to give in for thirty minute nap.
Those were long, tireless days. Those days looked so different from what I had imagined. I had a great track record with all babies up to that point. But despite swaddling, coddling, despite being full, dry, bounced, walked, she would cry for hours in the early weeks for me. Then her father would come home, pick her up and she was, of course, done. But that was about all he could do for her, for me, because despite 4 types of pacifiers and 5 types of bottles, she was an “AintNothin’LiketheRealThing” kind of baby. All mom, all the time.
I was deep in the darkness. Deep in the fog. Deep in the “WhatdidIdotomylife?-WhyisMyShirtWet?-WhyDoesn’tMyBabyLikeMe?-WillIEverSleepAgain? Blues.” And then it was over. She didn’t fit on my chest anymore. She wanted to move and explore. She started to sleep and have opinions and feed herself and then I dropped her off at Kindergarten.
When her brother was born, I held him on my chest, tucked under my chin, as long as he would fit. I knew how quickly it would change.
When he started to toddle after her, I held him a little longer at bedtime.
When he mispronounces words, I am not so quick to correct him. He’ll do it soon enough and I love how he says, “Capation” for vacation.
And when he nearly breaks me with his “three-ness,” I remember that I was there with her and that at four I realized that she actually had been listening.
I was talking with husband this summer about the cruel, or maybe kind, parenting phenomenon that allows you to look back fondly on stages that, while you were in them, almost broke you. When they are infants, it is the lack of sleep. Everything is foggy and turns into a game of Survivor. But you always know where they are and they don’t argue about what’s for dinner. When they are toddlers, there is danger lurking around every coffee table, but they don’t ask you for Monster High junk. And I am in a pretty sweet spot right now. They are relatively innocent and sweet. They are curious and somewhat self-sufficient. They still think I am great and make me laugh every day. And just when I want to absorb (almost) every moment, I am sending her off.
I usually try to tie in something about wine, but how could I? There is nothing I can say about wine this week. Except that I’ve had some. And that next week I’ll likely be able to look back and tell you about the ones I enjoyed. But this week, I am missing my girl. And I am excited for her. And I am trying to absorb and enjoy this phase. Because I am sure I will blink and be sending her to middle school, to high school, to college. But that is more than I can even comprehend right now.