Today is the day before she goes off to the big world. At least that's how it feels to me. We've been to meet her teacher, her daddy and I and she. I was perfectly fine until I looked around that little classroom filled to the brim with fun things to do. At first I could not see the teacher, the one who will provide a tremendous amount of care for my baby. But then I saw her. And then when everyone had come into the room, she turned the lights out, and began speaking very softly. So softly the children were curious to hear what she would say. They went to the reading corner where she read about gingerbread men and going to school, and we waited. Then she talked to the grown-ups. She explained the way it would all go down, and I was prepared for all that, but so very unprepared for the feelings. How do you prepare to say goodbye? To let go? Not to cry when all you feel like doing is crying a steady stream?
The three of us walked around the room, met the teacher, and said our hellos and then goodbyes. We walked around the school to the lunch building and to the area where she would enter the building each day. Then we went to lunch and celebrated our new normal.
At home, I cared not about the mess, and instead we played hide and seek, and Candyland, and I tried to imprint memories in my mind of this day. Princess excitedly awaiting her big tomorrow said she would miss me just now, that I was her sweet mommy.
Today, my oldest baby goes to Kindergarten. She will be up an hour earlier than usual. She will get dressed, eat something yummy for breakfast, and we will pray for her day together. She will ride the bus, and hopefully she will get on the bus and wave goodbye and the ride will be uneventful, yet fun for her. I will hug her, introduce her to the bus driver, and away she will go. She will walk into her classroom for the first time on her own, and she will say hello to new classmates and make new friends. She will have a new teacher, and she will learn her way around a new yet somewhat-giant-in-comparison-to-her-preschool school. She will get a lunch tray for the first time, and she will punch in a code to pay for it. Someone will help her learn the code and one day she will do it by herself. She will go to P. E. for the first time.
She'll be away from me for only an hour shorter than her daddy goes to work. She will know that she is taking a new journey, but she will not know how big a journey she is really taking or how big a journey her stay at home mother takes as she goes. She will be busy, and I wonder if she will ponder the best friend she'll leave behind at home, her brother.
I will learn to trust her to tell me stories of school. She's not much of a talker compared to many kids her age. I've told her instead of telling me that she doesn't know what happened that it is her job to come home with stories. That's what she and I do together at night before bed, we tell stories. So I will hope to hear stories. I will cling to stories.
Her brother will watch her get on the bus, and he will be curious and maybe sad. He will be wondering all day when does sister come home? He has already said he too wants to go to big school and ride the bus, and perhaps next year, he will. Together he and I will play Wii Lego Star Wars and learn how to be just me and him with baby sister again. We'll laugh and we'll probably cry, but mostly we'll play and busy ourselves.
For the first time, I will trust someone else to spend more hours with my baby than she has with me. When I first had her, I thought she was a piece of me, not really a separate person. She grew in my belly, and then I nursed her. But it was hard for me to at first understand that although I was to influence her, I could not make her into who she is meant to be. She was created with a personality and she is her self. She is not me; she is indeed separate. She has gone to preschool and had endeavors without me, but now, she will truly have her own little life. BUT, and this is a big BUT, I am not simply trusting her to go into the hands of public school and teachers and people I do not know. If I did, it would be much harder to trust. Instead, I am releasing my hold on her, letting my grip a little looser, and entrusting her more into God's hands where she's always been. I am trusting Him with her education and her adventure to big school, and this TRUST keeps me needing Him to help me let go of not her but of me and my agenda each day, knowing that whatever happens, He's good and He's God. He guides and He is in control even when it feels like He's not there.
So today I say not goodbye, but I learn again how to trust as I let go of my plans for His.