And She’s Off

As I sit here thinking about the last five years, how much they've meant, how much has changed in our family's life, and how much my sweet little lady has grown from a newborn baby with her foot fitting in my palm to her sassy spinning ways of today, I can't help but feel anxious, a little sad, and a so overly excited for her as she embarks into the world of Kindergarten.

This past week has been a week of firsts for her - first desk, first pencil box, first lunch in a school cafeteria, first highly anticipated art class, first FULL day of Kindergarten....

My little gal, the one we thought we’d have to try hard for years to conceive like her brother yet surprised us (and continues to do so), the delicate one, the one who broke her tiny clavicle entering the world, the one who is super sweet yet can instantly turn on what we call “Abbeytude”, the one with one volume - MAX, the picky one, the one who collects rocks and hoards little items, the one who is a ball of persistence, the one who secretly likes to sing and enjoys a good dance party, and the one who will forever be my little “shopping buddy”, my only girl, & one of three of my little blessings, headed off to school for the next 13-17+ years!  Whoa.

So, it begins.

I had the first day jitters last Friday when we took her to her new pirate themed classroom, but clearly she did not.  She sat right down at her desk after proudly hanging up her backpack and began working as if Mommy & Daddy weren’t even in the room.  We were hovering.  Argh, matey, I was trying to hold on, but I felt like I was walking the plank as I walked out that room and left her for the day.  She was stoked to wear a new very vibrant dress which totally matches her bold personality, stoked to make new friends, and so stoked to be a new kid on the big Kindergarten block.  As I walked out of the school, my husband kept a safe distance I think, because he knew I was about to blow and any human contact would have turned me into Old Faithful.  I was doing a decent job of fighting back the sob fest until the Principal saw me coming.  She took one look at me, and she sweetly said, “Don’t worry, Mom.  She’ll be just fine.”  I lost it.  I’m talking hot mess seal barking sobs.

Oh, my heart.  I sincerely hope she will be just fine.  A part of me knows she will, but I just don’t want to admit it.  It’s so hard to let these babies turned weeds grow and go.

Looking back at pictures of my first day of Kindergarten I only remember how much I loved my saddle locks and how much I adored that lavender dress from Sears.  I had to have that dress and the purple tote bag.  My parents look so cautiously proud, but I seem to be beaming with a toothless grin, so ready to get on the bus and go.  My Dad actually looks a little like he did on my wedding day...a tad stoic -maybe he was holding in a tear or two.  My Mom, my sweet Mom, she looks like she's proud to have just survived feeding me breakfast, answering my million questions, dressing me, & combing my bed head all in time for the bus.  She appears proud, too, but she also looks apprehensive about taking her littlest of three out of the nest, sending her off to the school abyss, & returning to the working-mom world after a lengthy hiatus as a stay-at-home mom like me.

I don't remember it.  I don't remember much at all about Kindergarten actually, except that my teacher, Mrs. Beebee had a bright blonde bowl cut, a sweet laugh, smelled like cookies, and she introduced our class to the alphabet.  Yep, that's right; we didn't have to know our letters before we entered Kindergarten.  Thirty years ago inflatable letter people would visit our class once a week, and they'd stay while we learned about how they sound and what words they start.  I remember actually seeing Mrs. Beebee pointing to the alphabet that wrapped around her wall and singing in a soprano voice with the students as we'd learn new letters.  My girl has known this song since she was two.

Perhaps she's smarter than her Mommy or perhaps the times have really, really changed.  Thanks, technology.  Those huge IBM's that I learned how to type on in a computer lab are now obsolete (as are computer labs in most schools as most rooms are outfitted with their own computer centers).  Either way, I could never begin to imagine what she'll become someday.  All I know is that I will be proud.  My husband and I will forever be so proud of her - no matter what.  We may worry about her “free spirit” tendencies (maybe even more as we approach the dreaded teens), but I will learn as a Mom to trust her and to have faith in the world around her.  This has to be one of the hardest things we moms have to do.

My dear Abbey, you and your big personality are going places.  While I’m apprehensive about watching you grow and go, I know that you will color this world with your vibrant heart and mind.  Always be you.