On Wednesday I joined the ranks of Wonder Women all over the country when I dropped my daughter, Charity, off for her first day of Kindergarten. I've been dreading this day for months; she's been counting the days until it came!
We were late (are we suprised? Not really) so I ended up walking her to her class. She happily gets in line behind the other students, a big grin on her face, and I stand there, knowing I need to leave, but it just feels so.... off. I don't leave my little girl in strange places with strange people! She jumped in with the other students so fast that I didn't even have a chance to hug her and tell her I love her. She didn't notice; I was slightly heartbroken.
I did find the courage to walk out and leave her behind. I passed the principle in the hall on my way out of the school. "Everything okay?" she asks with a big, pleasant smile on her face. And I'm thinking... yeah... no... I kinda want to cry a little.... Instead I paste a smile on my face and say "Yep. Found the class just fine. Thank you!" and move on. Lucky for me I had a baby on my hip and a three-year-old holding my hand. That makes it easier.
It was a strange thing driving away from that school. I didn't cry. I only felt like it a bit. And it's not like I don't want her there. Well, yeah it is. Can't she have that experience while she's safely encased in my little protective bubble? I guess not.
I ended up taking my other two kids to the store, since I didn't really want to go home. That was a good experience. It was so much easier taking the two instead of the three! Yes, I've discovered a bonus!
Truth be told, it was nice having her in school for a couple hours. It gave me a little bit of time with my boys, a little bit of time to work on the house in peace. But when it was time to go pick her up, I hopped right in that car and went on my way, happy to have her back.
She, of course, was thrilled with Kindergarten. She drew pictures. The teacher told her stories. She met a new little girl named Ella, who apparently made an impression since she's the only name Charity can remember. She sang a song "Hot potato, hot potato!" which morphs into "Cold spaghetti, cold spaghetti!" While she's singing it she's demonstrating the hand movements that go along with the song. It's really quite darling.
And, perhaps the best thing of all, she is starting to see herself as an honest-to-goodness big girl. She stands taller and I can see she's just so proud of herself. I am too. Sure it breaks my heart, sure it bites watching her move on where I can't go, but I suppose that's part of the expeience of motherhood. The whole joyful, heartwrenching, sometimes earth-shattering experience of motherhood.
When I asked her yesterday what happened to my baby girl, she spread her arms wide as if to say she doesn't know then said matter-of-factly, "I go to school. I'm five. I ride a two-wheeler."
Yes, Baby Girl, yes you do. But you'll always be my Baby Girl.