I read a sweet piece recently about Kindergarten.
One mom’s perspective on her daughter’s first day of school.
About endings and beginnings and letting go and heartbreak. She shared her anguish. How she felt kindergarten was an ugly trick just setting her daughter up to go away. Permanently. The beginning of the road that would lead to her sweet child’s final walk down the aisle and beyond — into that place where she wouldn’t be needed anymore.
She was absolutely right. But she was also wrong.
From where I was, I could clearly see she just didn’t realize the truly magical place where she stood.
After five years of being a member of the most selfless profession in the world, I knew how lost she felt. Five years of nighttime feedings, endless crying, terrible twos, snotty kisses, toys EVERYWHERE, mountains of laundry, no time for herself — even to go to the bathroom — potty training, bad dreams, and the list endlessly went on. She shared how guilty she felt when she honestly began to look forward to Kindergarten and the break she would finally receive. And how for her, when that day finally came it was exactly like a brutal slap in the face.
But I also knew she would find out all those years invested in selfless nurturing were the easy part.
They were just the BEGINNING of her role as the anchor in her child’s life.
Being a parent is HARD. It starts out hard. There is no break in period. Kids don’t come with an instruction manual.
When a child entered my life long after I had raised three of my own.
When I really was sure I was done.
When the last thing I thought I’d be doing twenty-four-seven was sleeping with the hum of a monitor in my bedroom, child-proofing my house, potty training, washing so much extra laundry, picking up lego land mines from the floor, putting the taxi-cab driver hat BACK on my head and plunging head first a fourth time into the land of exploration and wonder and MAGIC. I had to admit, I was more than a little resistant.
Not part of my plan.
I didn’t see it coming.
It just wasn’t fair.
But I couldn’t have been MORE wrong.
So, I’m here to humbly request, precious young mom, that you embrace this moment. Because, like you, I had no idea what my future held. I had no idea how wonderful it would be. Or how devastating. I had no idea how helpless I would feel. Or how empowered.
Most of all, I knew nothing about the magic.
And like me, you’ll find out — regardless of her independence — there will NEVER be a time your daughter won’t need you. In fact, there will be times when her need for you will be so great it will make nighttime feedings and lost sleep seem like a piece of cake.
And you need to be ready for this.
So, please take my humble advice and move gracefully and purposefully into this new place. And make yourself the best you can possibly be. Because your child’s need for you isn’t ending at all, but only just beginning.
It will grow exponentially throughout her life.
Finally, a day will come when she will need you more than ever and you will seem to be gone.
And when this happens, she will rise above her tears and will look carefully at herself. She will look at her children. And she will look at her children’s children. And she will see you.
And that’s when she will know.
You will ALWAYS be there..
And nothing could possibly be MORE magical.
Lover of reading, writing, sparkly things and whatever purrs, barks or flies. Former helicopter mom, co-dependent and enabler, I am addicted to walking, my family and my iWatch. Teacher by day and writer by night, I am clearly the one learning the most. Keeping it up until I get it right. Choosing joy one day at a time and sharing my journey so others can see why it might not be found if we don’t look for it. Thanks for stopping by!
You were sitting right in front of me and I get that you probably wanted…