I wrote this post years ago when our Madilyn was heading to Kindergarten. Now, she is on her way to 3rd Grade. Our baby, Juliana, is heading to Kindergarten. I really can't believe it.
This is why I'm not sad my child is going to Kindergarten. Two words - she's ready. I know one thing - bedtime will be even more special now. It really is hard to believe how fast preschool went - that first day is fresh in my memory.
Don't get me wrong, I will miss having lazy pajama days with Madilyn in the middle of the week. I will miss spending the mornings watching her play with her sister, having lunch with her on the porch and knowing she is safe and sound upstairs in her bed taking a nap. I will miss her writing me little notes in the middle of the day that say, "Madilyn loves mommy." I will miss listening to her say funny things like, "Look mom an airplane! I bet Cinderella is on that plane coming here!"
Yet, I am excited for this next stage of parenting. I am excited to see her grow. I am excited to see her learn how to read and write even more words. I am excited to hear about the friends she makes. I am excited to hear all her stories about her day on the way home after I pick her up. I am excited to see her sister's face when she sees "sissy" after school.
l am excited for her. This is her time to take a leap, to challenge herself, to grow, to learn, to change. This is her time to move past her comfort zone. This is her time to challenge herself, learn from mistakes, become more independent and let's face it, leave my umbrella of care a little. She is ready. Sure, I know there will be challenges. There always is with change and growth. She may meet someone in her class who isn't nice to her. She may not always get what she wants. She may be faced with concepts at school that are hard for her to understand. She will have to work hard and practice and pay attention and find herself and her rhythm. I am excited for her.
I am proud of me. I am proud of us - Brian and I. We made it. Our oldest is starting Kindergarten. I think back to all those times when I never thought Madilyn would sleep through the night. I think back to potty training and toddler tantrums and leaving her with Nona and Pap for the first overnight sleepover. I think back to her starting preschool and how I got up early and just watched her sleep. I think back to when she was days old and how I held her in the middle of the night and we watched the snow fall outside her nursery window. I think back to being filled with anxiety and worry and wondering how I could ever be the mother she deserves. I think about dealing with PPD and looking back and realizing how it shaped me to be the mom I am today. I think about Madilyn and how I am more and more proud of her every single day. I can't wait to see who she becomes.
I think back and smile but I remind myself that I don't need to be sad. I need to be proud. It's OK to accept that time moves on. In fact, it is healthy to embrace time and change and getting older. Our kids grow up. They change. They grow - God willing. This is what we want, right?
So, why is it so hard to see our kids grow up? Why is it so difficult to let go? I think there are a few reasons:
1. We want to keep our kids safe under our care. As our kids get older, we as parents have less and less control over what they do, where they go, who they have contact with. This can be crazy scary especially if it's your first child leaving the nest to full-time school.
2. We don't want to miss the wonderful moments. However, it is pretty special when other people tell you how special your child is.
3. Seeing our kids grow up makes us realize that we are also growing up. Yep, we are getting older too.
4. We don't want to look back over the years and question if we enjoyed everything as much as we could have. We don't want to have regrets. We don't want to think back to the newborn years and think, "I wish I would have enjoyed those sleepless newborn days more." I think that it's important to be proud of what you did DO and not focus on what you could have done. Tell yourself that you did your best and you are looking forward to the future.
There is no training manual on "How to survive the first five years of parenting." We do our best. We learn on the job. We love them. We love them. We love them. We love them even when we want to run away. That's all they want. They want us to love them and be proud of them.
So, this post is dedicated to all the mamas out there who are sending one of their babies to Kindergarten. Don't be sad. Be proud. You did good, mama. You did real good.
Now, go pack a kick-ass lunch, write a little note on a napkin, sharpen those pencils, iron those first-day of school clothes and smile. Smile and enjoy. This is what you have worked so hard to get to. You made it. Smile and enjoy. Cry tears of joy. Oh, you know I will be crying. Crying and taking a ton of pictures.
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