I have four kids. You would think that I would get used to certain things. Vomit, unflushed toilets, boogers and snotty noses, I will never be a fan. Another thing that I will never get used to, is the dreaded first day of kindergarten.
I had to register my third child this week. It never gets any easier. They always seem too little to be going to big school. I mean sure, he has been to preschool for two years, but this is BIG school, government required education. I am never ready.
What happened to the days of him wearing tiny blue baby gowns? What happened to baby swings and diapers and that wonderful pink baby lotion smell? How is he already five years old?
I thought after I made it through the process with my first child, it would get easier. The worst day is when you actually have to drive them there, walk them in and then….. just leave. Your baby is now with someone else.
The worst part is when the teacher asks you to sit on the carpet, with your child, as she reads “The Kissing Hand.” Have you read this book? It is about how you put a kiss in their hand, and if they miss you during the day, they can put their hand to their cheek, and feel your kiss. But wait! That’s not the worst part. NEXT she has your child put a kiss in your hand for YOU to put on YOUR cheek later. As soon as the story is over, she asks you to get up….and LEAVE. Merciless, don’t you think?
I am two for two so far. I always walk out of that school a crying, snotty mess. And by crying I mean the ugly cry. I am not a big crier, but I cannot make the faucet stop on that day. Oh and NEVER look back into the classroom. My first child was giving me the sad, pouty face which totally broke my heart. Worse than that, my second child waved me out like he didn’t need me anymore. There is no good scenario for leaving your child at kindergarten on that first day. I historically have been a walking disaster.
I think back to my mother when I went to school. I remember her milling around outside the door, crying. She kept poking her head back in to make sure I was still okay with her leaving. I was fine but my mother? She was ugly crying. It must run in the family.
What is it about losing your babies? They have so many milestones that we celebrate: crawling, smiling, eating, walking and talking. They continue all the way up to going off to college, getting married, having children. We live to watch our children make it to the next step in life.
What I am discovering though, is your kids growing up, is an incredibly bittersweet process. Sometimes I would kill to just hold them all as babies, one more time. Why do they all have to grow up and find their own way into the world? Why can’t they just be Mommy’s babies forever? I don’t want to hand them over to the world. Not even to a kindergarten teacher.
I will do it though, because that is what a mother is supposed to do. We are here to teach and nurture them, and hopefully help them evolve into amazing adults one day. I can’t help but think back to the exact moment, when each one was placed into my arms, for the very first time. Each child is recorded in my memory. There is nothing like meeting the little person who has been living inside of you. The first time I looked into their eyes and they looked back, with that facial expression of “thank goodness that is over with”, I melted. Well, I can’t speak for everyone but that is the moment that I fell head over heels in love, with all of my children.
I want my kids to have the best opportunities in life, so I will do it all again. I will walk number three into that school. I will tell myself that I am not going to cry this time. I just won’t listen when she reads that blasted book. I will watch him wander around his new classroom, discovering his exciting new world. I won’t breakdown when he sits in his tiny chair at his tiny deck. I will quietly watch as he looks at all of his new friends.
I will go to the carpet when I am asked. I will try to think of other things while she reads, like taxes or bills or colonoscopies. I won’t make eye contact with any of the other weeping parents. That is until he takes my hand, and places his tiny, warm kiss inside. The very kiss that will melt away all of my resolve because now, he is taking care of me. He wants me to be okay too. He will look at me and smile, as if to say everything is going to be fine. Then the teacher will tell us that it is time for parents to leave. I will stand, walk out the door, turn to look back at him, probably no less that three times. Then with his last smile, I will melt into a blubbering mess, as I walk down the hall and out of the school.
I would like to say that this will be the last time that I cry for him. But it won’t be. The first time that he is too big to sit in my lap, to let mommy kiss his boo-boo or his first heartbreak. I am sure I will be a mess then too. That’s okay though. This is what I signed up for when I had children. It is not always easy when your heart is walking around in the world everyday, vulnerable for the whole world to see. This is what it is to be a mother, yet I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
Who left these tears on my keyboard?