Monday, September 8, 2014

Kindergarten: The Beginning of the End

I never thought this day would come. I was sure my life would stay like this forever -

Bundling my babes up for our Library Mondays, and walking rain or shine to the library. The days were ours for whatever whims we wanted to appease.

And most importantly, these kids were mine. I controlled what they did, they relied solely on me, and we were each other's worlds. And while sometimes, that fact drove me crazy, most the time I loved it. It's safe, it's happy. My two humans I love more than anything, that are closest to my heart, I get to keep literally closest to me all day. I know exactly what is happening at all times....and that greatly appeases the control freak in me. I get to make sure they see good things, hear good things, learn good things, and know good things. I get to wipe away their tears and protect them from potential future hurts, and teach them wisdom in their pain. And every monumental step, achievement, or even simple growth, I was there for live, in person, to watch, wonder, and celebrate.  I was their world completely, and they were and still are mine.

I knew the day would come when that would end. Someday I would be less central to my children's life, less vital to their every moment and the path away from me would begin. But that day was so far off I had no need to worry. Pssh, these babies would never get that old. It's the oldest cliche in the books: blink and time has flown by and what you never thought would happen, has arrived.

And you'd think by all this dramatic talk I would be referring to my child moving off to college, or getting married, or leaving all together. Nope. I'm just talking about Kindergarten, folks. Kindergarten.

And yes my baby girl grew up to be old enough for Kindergarten.

Kindergarten Orientation

I've been mourning that fact for months now. Even at Kindergarten Orientation I just felt overwhelmed that we were at this point. I wanted to rewind back to toddler time and snatch my kids into my arm and nastily sneer, "MINE!" at those greedy school doors.

It's not about schooling. As I think back to how much I loved school and how I thrived, and as I watched Lydia's eyes light up at her preschool graduation when asked about kindergarten, I felt so excited for her. I am so thrilled as she starts this journey. She is so smart and just built to absorb and learn - not to mention what she has to offer that grand world out there. I know she'll be amazing, and I'm so happy for her. The devastating part for me is the beginning of the end. From here on out, her path takes a dramatic curve and that curve aims away from me and just keeps on heading in that direction.

I know that it's just kindergarten and that's three hours a day for four days, and every other Friday, but it's that step on that path away from me that has me sobbing at baby pictures and longing for the good ol' days. After kindergarten comes first grade and that's ALL day away from me. ALL day for years and years, until she finally leaves me for good.

The kids at the bus-stop with all the new kindergartners in front.

Now I won't be the one she turns to to understand the world around her; her perceptions will come from her friends telling her why boys are gross, or her teacher telling her the correct way to add numbers, or a book informing her what good manners actually are. Her personality will develop based on her interactions with her peers at school rather than just her mom and brother during the day, and her dad added to the mix at night. I won't know for sure if those peers are telling her good things, I won't know if they are filling her head full of truth and good, and I know based off my experiences that it won't always be. And I know that all I can do is arm her the best I can to seek good and repel bad, and trust me to talk to me when she does face the scary stuff. That's a heavy stress to carry.

I also won't be there to see her grin the first time she gets a question right. I won't see that look of satisfaction as she FINALLY writes a two correctly instead of backwards. I'll just have to hear about it secondhand and hope that my excitement for her means something. I won't be able to hear her giggle as she runs around with her new best friend around the playground, or pick her up and cuddle her when she falls and scrapes a knee. I'll wait until she gets home and listen as she shows me the band-aid and matter-of-factly tells me of her spill.

Ironically, many of the tasks I just mentioned, I've grumbled about: her crying, her hard time writing, boisterious screaming with friends. And some of it I might not miss as much as I thought I would. But it was all mine to grumble about because I was there. And it's that first step off the road that we've been trudging through together, onto her own path away from me that had me shed some tears as the bus pulled off with that little angel.

Lydia as been looking forward to kindergarten for so long, I was surprised at how nervous she was at Orientation. On the way home I had her list off the reasons of why she was so nervous. She said, "I'm nervous about doing things right and being good."

Now if any of you know Lydia you understand how ironic this statement is. Lydia, from day one, has been one of the most well-behaved, good little girls I've ever come across. And that's not just me being biased. She, of course, has her moments, but she was just born with a mellow personality and ingrained desire to do what's right and please others. The fact that she was able to express worries as mature as these, and that those concerns were the ones causing her to twist her shirt in a knot for an hour, proved how ready she is for this. And showed me that maybe she's taken a couple steps down that path before I even realized it.

It also had me desperate to shove her back up the path and protect that innocent goodness with everything I have.

 But, as a rite of passage, she boarded that long-awaited yellow bus and rode off to her first day of kindergarten. Her little legs took those giant steps up that bus, and sat down to ride away from me on that path leading to her loss of innocence, her growing up, and her independence. I never thought it would happen, but the beginning of the end has come and gone. And I'm still heartbroken about it.

....If you couldn't tell.

It's not all so terrible as I would have you believe. She had a fantastic first day and taught me the songs she learned, and told me about her classroom and new best friend in class that happens to already be in our ward. And I found a deep sense of fulfillment in her joy from those experiences that I am starting to realize will fill part of the loss of missing her for those hours. It was really a happy day all in all. I have just been processing through these feelings for so long, that I've had a lot to get out and sort through to get to the good of sending my girl to school.

Another little man wasn't so thrilled about losing his best friend to the public school system.

I'm slightly terrified because I am now this three-year-old's sole source of entertainment in the mornings while his sister is at school. Usually Lydia creates elaborate worlds that they dive into together as I take on my grown-up tasks, listening from the sidelines. Now it's up to me to be the creator and playmate.

Friday we started by building with blocks (I created a sweet landscape of river/forest/lake with a towns and bridges and roads to cross over the river and such. I may have had a little TOO much fun), rode bikes, learned letters, read our library books, threw a frisbee, kicked a soccer ball, and threw a football. And it STILL wasn't time to get Lydia from the bus stop. Not to mention, this is all on day one.

I'm nervous for this next week.

But I've learned a bit more to enjoy these times before this handsome boy starts down that path right behind his sister.

Sometimes I think it's cruel to be a mom. You put your heart and soul into teaching and preparing you children for the world, and then have to celebrate as they are successful in leaving you. But luckily, even as they leave me I'm grateful because I know they are mine forever, no matter how far they go. And I'm doing my best to help them aim for the stars.


  1. I can't believe she is in Kindergarten! I bet she is just going to thrive! She is so adroable and Ammon is so handsome. Your kids are getting so big and I miss them.

  2. oh my gosh this post has given me so much anxiety! i too am terrified of 'the end' ahhhh! i remember when she was BORN (through caitlin). wow, big changes! she will do amazing but i am so sad for you! a good reminder to cherish these young years