Yesterday morning, when I went in to wake Miss up for her first full day of kindergarten away from home, I stood and gazed at her for a second before rousing her. I brushed her hair back from her sleeping face, and as I looked at her in profile, I saw her, right then, as a two-year-old. In sleep, her big-girl face took on the baby-like qualities from when she was smaller, and it almost took my breath.
^ In the upper left-hand corner of that photo is Miss at about 18 months.
I almost didn’t want to wake her. I wanted to just stand and look at her. She looked so little and so big, at the same time.
I wasn’t sure how I would feel about today. I knew it would be hard/weird to send her to somewhere else for a full day. I knew it would feel strange to know that my little girl is big enough for kindergarten, even though next week she’ll be back home with me, and we’ll be doing school at home most of the time. I knew I would be nervous and excited for her.
She was certainly excited.
So, did I cry when I dropped her off?
No. I didn’t. I felt the throat tightening, eyes burning feeling for just a moment when she first started to walk away with her class. But it passed pretty quickly.
However, it was certainly a strange, and in some ways difficult, day. I kept feeling like a part of me was missing. At lunch, sitting with just my two youngers, I noticed how odd it felt to not have Miss there. That was the hardest part. That’s when I almost cried.
Sis: (to Lass) “You be Pincess Pesto, and I be Affa Pig, and Mama, you be Supa Why!”
Me: “Okay! Too bad your sister isn’t here. She could be Wonder Red.”
Sis: (looking sadly at Miss’s seat) “We need to go get her!!”
That moment, that little-sister-missing-big-sister moment, is when I started laugh-crying, as I said something like, “We can’t yet. She’s at school.” I almost spiraled into all-out bawling, feeling acutely the void left by Miss’s absence right then. But I pulled it together and rallied with more Super Why! pretending. It helps when you know all the words. . .
For most of the day, I kept looking at the clock and wondering where Miss was and what she was doing right then. “11:07, I wonder if she’s having lunch yet?” Super Friend kindly texted me a photo of her grinning from ear to ear on the playground at recess and let me know that she seemed fine at lunch.
By 1pm I was checking my watch every five minutes or so, to see if it was time to go get her yet. I missed her.
At pick up, I realized how much fun she had had, and how grown up it made her feel to have had a full day at school, away from Mom and sisters.
She and her sisters played with other kids on the playground for a bit after dismissal. Miss kept following Sis around, helping her on the relatively large play structure. She came to me and told me that I didn’t have to watch Sis, because she would take care of it.
The whole day, I was struck over and over by the juxtaposition of so grown up with so teeny tiny. She was acting so responsibly, and so big with her little sister. Yet the older kids careening around her dwarfed her.
Her uniform clothes were so grown up.
But in them, she looked so teeny tiny.
I guess that’s one of the tough things about the start of kindergarten. Our little ones are so big and so small at the same time. This makes it hard to let go. At least for me.
I must say, I am quite relieved she will be back at home with me next week. I think I’ll be able to handle this for one and a half days per week.