Monday, August 22, 2011

And They're Off

A second grader and a kindergartner. Someone please explain to me how this is even possible.
Friday morning saw the start of Shortcake's second grade year. The night before she and I spent 40 minutes snuggled up together in her bed, fighting back tears in tandem with varying levels of success, me doing my best to offer words of encouragement and peaceful thoughts while she tried her hardest to turn off her always turning brain in an effort to let her fears and worries subside. She woke up the next morning - just after dawn, her face as bright as the sun - excited about the day ahead. All worries seemed to be left behind as she skipped through her morning routine and waited joyfully for the ride to her new school.

We picked up her friend after leaving our house on the way to school; they were chatterboxes the entire ride, and there was no sign of fear anywhere on Shortcake's face as I left her outside her classroom door. The only smile bigger than the one she gave me as I walked away was the one on her face when she walked in my room at the end of the day.

With Friday morning slated for kindergarten orientation, Punkin's official first day of school was today. Leading up to the first day of school, she has been noticeably less enthusiastic about the start of her formal education career than her older sister was at that age, but you would have never known it by the bounce in Punkin's step at 6:30 this morning. She sailed through her morning "jobs" and walked around the house with backpack in place a solid ten minutes before we were scheduled to leave.

Both girls giggled and talked the entire ride to Punkin's school, something I was grateful for as it kept my mind off the fact that I was about to drop my baby off in the (completely capable and loving) hands of a virtual stranger. Even with that distraction, though, the poem her teacher had given to us as part of our orientation packet kept running through my head during the short drive. It was a special form of torture - a sweet gesture that left me almost breathless with sadness at the thought of her growing up so fast.

The First Day
I gave you a little glance and smile
As you came into my room today
For I know how hard it is to leave
And to know your child must stay
You've been with her for five years now
And have been a loving guide
But now, alas, the time has come
To leave her at my side
For as a parent I too know
How quickly the years do pass
And it has also been my turn
To take my child to class
Just know that as you drive away
As tears down your cheeks may flow
I'll love her as I do my own
And help her learn and grow
So please put your mind at ease
And cry those tears no more
For I will love her and take her in
When you leave her at my door

Once at the school, there was nothing to stop the tears from falling as I leaned in for one last hug and kiss before I left her sitting in her class line in the gym. "I'm so proud of you, Lainey," I whispered to her through tears. "Be a good listener, be nice to your friends, and have fun today. I love you so much." I'm not sure she even heard my entire message. She was too busy ignoring me, trying to take her place in line like we had talked about her doing all weekend long.

I received a perfectly timed email from her teacher this afternoon with the encouraging subject line titled "She's doing great!". A very kind friend put a bug in her teacher's ear that Punkin's mom was a little worried about her, and Punkin's sweet teacher took the time to email me to let me know that there had been a smile on Punkin's face all day long. That one short email made my heart soar with happiness.

Everyone tells you when you have a baby to enjoy every minute because it goes by so fast. As the parent of a newborn hearing that sentiment over and over gets a little obnoxious, but my God it's so true. In the blink of an eye they go from newborn to kindergartner, second grader to graduate. The rumor is that once both kids get into school the time goes by even faster, and the realization that this can only be true makes my heart ache. I love them so much, and it kills me that I'm either too busy, too tired, or too something to enjoy every second of who they are right now, in this exact moment.

Ugh, the first day of school makes me sappier than a Hallmark card writer with extreme PMS. It gets easier, right? Please tell me it gets easier . . .


Anonymous said...

Hang in there Mommy..loved the post, loved the pictures, loved the smile on their faces..just ask for strength every day. I love you! Mom/Gramma Poke

Tru Stories said...

First: They are both so beautiful with their tans! They obviously enjoyed their summer!

Second: While I am so very bummed, my little Tink did not get into Pre-school with her friends... it did occur to me this morning... that one year from this week, I will drop ALL three of my children to their classes.
And then, I will be an at home mother... to no children.

Someone, please make the days pass very slowly, over this next year.

Tina said...

This post was perfectly timed - they certainly grow up too fast! The girls look great!

Anonymous said...

As I sit here sappy as hell because the truth hurts and yes they slip through your fingers like sand....even when you take it all in and try to enjoy and savor every minute time still has a way of slipping away! The girls are so cute and yes growing up quickly so keep on keepin on Amanda. YOur doing a great job :) YOu better put MI on your vacation plans next summer okay??? Would love to have you all.


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