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New Beginnings

I may have hinted, here and there, that I am a wee bit sad about school starting in general, and my baby starting kindergarten specifically.

A wee bit.

So to everyone who called or emailed yesterday with their condolences –er, sympathy –er, kind words – I say a heart-felt thank you. Deeply.

To those who sent well-meaning words of encouragement along the lines of “this doesn’t have to be an identity crisis”, I thank you for your intention, but you missed my point.

My point here, as I got vulnerable and admitted how much I’ll miss those girls, is not that I find myself kicking around the house with nothing to do. I am not one of those moms who feels purposeless without a bottom to wipe, a mouth to feed. I dearly love my girls, but do not find my complete identity wrapped up in them. I have a life outside of those relationships, and I enjoy that life mightily.

No, my sadness is simply because I like those kids, and I’m going to miss them when they’re not here. I love playing Uno and Sorry with them, I love reading with them and making up silly stories, I love their quirky little personalities. I enjoy hanging out with those crazy girls and I miss them when they’re gone.

And, too, this is an end of an era. This marks a clear ending to a life when I was the center of their universes – when the entire day Revolved According To Mommy. I felt myself shifted away a bit – say, to one of Saturn’s outer rings – when Maddie started school, and now there’s no denying it: I’ve been booted out to, perhaps, Pluto.

Poor little wanna-be-planet.

Parenting is a gradual withdrawing, a subtle but inexorable retreat from your child’s daily frontlines to the rear, still coaching and sending up tactical suggestions but no longer calling the minute-by-minute shots. And with my baby now firmly planted in big-kid school, there’s simply no room for me in the trenches with her any more.

Yesterday was a day of new beginnings, as Cora began to figure out who she is just a little bit more. She walked out of that school at 3 p.m. a bigger kid and ain’t nothin’ gonna stop her now.

New beginnings – and just a little bit of an ending.


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