While my daughter snuggled up with her fluffy white seal Marshmallow, literally with a smile on her precious face and dreaming of her first day of "big school" last night, I sat there on the edge of her bed with tears streaming down my face. I looked at her, our oldest, our first born, our sweet daughter. As I gently rubbed her soft cheek, careful not to wake her, I couldn't help but picture her first days on this earth. Her tiny fingers grasping mine as I rocked her in the NICU, awed, scared, amazed, overwhelmed, still slightly drugged, but mostly completely in love with this new little person. I opened my eyes and we were back in her room. Fast-forward five and a half years and here is my little love, just hours before she starts kindergarten.
I had tried to make the day feel special. Her favorite homemade breakfast, fun activities with me and her little brother, a trip to the library, followed by the delicious pastry shop in town. With her favorite pink frosted cupcake in hand, I watched enjoy her snack and smiled at her as she ran around the dessertery with one of her friends (also a new kindergartner). As the other mother and I commiserated over the idea of our daughters going off to kindergarten, I laughed inside at myself as I put up a brave front about how excited I was about the new teacher (which of course I was) but it was only a mask to cover my breaking heart. I know she felt the same way. We sort of smiled a knowing mommy smile at each other as she left with her kids and I exited with mine, quietly wishing each other good luck for the next day.
This morning we (of course Dad and little brother had to go too) all walked into the school hand-in-hand. I fought back the tears so hard my eyes hurt. The sweet little students grouped together for morning story time. Without much hesitation, my little kindergartner walked over and picked a seat on the colorful carpet, listening intently to the reader. A few minutes passed and each of the kindergarten teachers called her class to come join her and walk to the classroom, just 20 feet away from the reading area. Again with no qualms my little girl assembled with her new classmates and her teacher, eager to find her name tag at her table. I knew it was time to leave soon. So I tried to take a few quick pictures. She was so excited and ready to listen to the teacher's next request, she barely turned around for a shot. After a quick "I love you" we three scooted out the door, leaving one of us behind. But she did not seem to care a bit. And I knew that was how it was supposed to be.
And so begins a new chapter in our lives. Thankfully I have two years to prepare for our youngest's school entrance. It will probably take me that long to recoup from this one.