Today was Kaydence's first day of Pre-Kindergarten. She has been anticipating this day for a few months now as we have school shopped and prepared for its inevitable appearance. I have seen pictures and heard stories of the weepy mom who cried the minute she got to the car after dropping off her teary-eyed and clingy preschooler for the first day. I have been trying to prepare myself for this milestone and the flood of emotions that would come with it. I already knew this was going to be hard for me. I knew I was going to miss her presence for the 3 1/2 hours she was gone and I knew I was going to cry.
But I didn't
I didn't cry. It wasn't hard for me. I didn't 'miss' her presence.
As we stood outside of her preschool classroom. I held her hand. I told her to be nice to the other children, however, don't allow them to bully her. I told her to share, to be kind, to be patient and most of all to have fun. I told her that this was going to be a great experience and that she was going to love it. She nodded at all my commands and remarks with nervous excitement in her eyes. When we entered her classroom I signed her in and watched her timidly wash her hands and sit down in a circle at the front of the classroom, as instructed. I stood and watched other parents desperately trying to peel the tight grasps of their screaming child off their arm. I listened to her preschool teacher calmly tell us parents that it is fine for us to stay for a bit to allow the children to acclimate and I watched the relief on the faces of some of those concerned parents who had hoped she would say that. I watched and listened, and then I did the complete opposite.
I quietly signed to Kaydence "Mommy is leaving now. I will see you soon. I love you." She nodded in agreement, signed 'I love you' back, and after giving her one last big smile I walked out. I was the only parent to do so.
There was no anxiety, no fear, no sadness, no worry. I didn't cry when I got to the car and or when I got home.
You see, the truth is, I welcome with new milestone of our life. A few hours of no sibling rivalry. A few hours of only being pulled in two directions instead of three. A few hours to grocery shopping without filing the cart with kids before I even put a single item in it. A few more hours to do laundry. A few hours to run (since my jogging stroller only holds two). A few hours to accomplish things that would have been much more difficult with three instead of two.
Now, don't get me wrong. I adore my little girl! I couldn't imagine my life without the amazing little person who made me the mom I am today and I truly enjoy playing, interacting, and being around the wonderful little spirit she is. I am not "happy" that she is gone. I am happy that she is being fully engaged, entertained, taught, cared for and fed in a safe environment while I have a few hours to get things done that would have not allowed me to do all of those things with her. I feel as though it is a win, win for both of us.
When I picked her up, I asked her if she was nervous when I left and if she missed me. Her response:
"Nope I wasn't nervous and I didn't miss you at all!"
I guess we are both in similar places :-)