Thursday, August 30, 2012

Hard on the Heart

I have decided that nothing can adequately prepare one for the emotional roller coaster that accompanies parenthood.  I have been SO blessed to stay home full time with Emma for (almost) six years.  I have enjoyed having a front row seat to her whole world.  Perhaps this is why it is incredibly bittersweet to stand at the horizon and let her dash off to Kindergaten.  For months I was anxious, petrified and sad.  It broke my heart.  I literally couldn't bring myself to say the "K" world out loud.  It was hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that she wanted to eat cafeteria food and begged to ride the bus home.  I did my best to be excited for Emma because I knew she was looking forward to this new adventure.  It is definitely the next step in life for her but it's such a giant leap of faith for me.    

Just as I recorded her birth story shortly after bringing her home from the hospital, I'd like to jot down the story of her first day of Kindergarten.  The night before we laid out a new outfit, painted her nails to match, put her hair up in sponge rollers and read a new book, 'T'was the Night Before Kindergarten'.  I set my alarm for 5:55am (ouch!) and couldn't believe I had just put her to bed for the last time before we were on a set school schedule.  The alarm sounded and we woke Emma up to watch 'Martha' on PBS (her favorite!). After that she dressed in her apple applique shirt, black and white polka dot leggings, matching bow and brand new shiny Mary Janes.  After a few quick photos on the brick fireplace she put her little arms through the new cute chocolate polka dot Pottery Barn back pack we all dashed out the door.  We enjoyed McDonald's for breakfast and then headed around the corner to Lansberry Elementary.  

The place was busy with cars parked everywhere and people hustling to and from.  We guided her down to the Kinder wing.  When we opened the hall door and we saw Ms. Thornton standing in her classroom doorway my heart felt as though it dropped into my stomach.  There was no turning back now.  Emma made a bee line for the door with all the confidence in the world.  We followed to help her get situated (and of course to snap a few more photos!).  She found her table and began talking to some new little friends.  Owen felt right at home and sat down beside her.  I had held it together until this point but I felt the waterworks coming.  I started to make my way out the door but turned around once more before I left.  Our eyes met and it was almost as if she non verbally told me "I'm okay, everything will be fine mom".  The feeling that overcame me was the one I expect to feel on all of her big days....when we leave her at college and on her wedding day.  Once in the hallway I cried like I knew I would.  In all of the chaos we neglected to take any photos of ourselves with our girl.

That afternoon I showed up at least 45 minutes early to pick her up.  The line of cars was already crazy long.       I could hardly wait to hear how her day went.  She had lots to share.  She raved about the yummy cafeteria food and was thrilled to do push ups in PE.  She was excited to have received one of the first orange triangles for good behavior in the cafeteria and was proud of herself for doing the monkey bars on the playground.  

I already miss her abundantly during the day. There are countless little unexpected reminders that things are different now.  There is one empty spot on the double kid-friendly cart at Target, a missing buddy at the McDonalds play land and a little brother who often pitifully asks "We pick up Emma now fweaze?"

I know that we will all adjust to our new routine at some point.  I know that it will be a wonderful year!

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