I am in the process of scheduling Meredith’s preschool interview. It feels surreal because she is still very much a baby in some ways. She is still working on learning to use the potty and still she has the typical two year old meltdowns. She still needs a little help getting herself dressed. But, the fact of the matter is that she will be three in just two short months and will be entering the three year preschool program at VMM this coming Fall. And I know she will be ready.
But, I don’t know if I am.
Having my baby enter school is a much different emotional experience for me than when my oldest did. Don’t get me wrong, I know there is some beauty in it. Once they are both in preschool, I will have three hours every morning to go to the grocery store or run errands by myself. I can schedule things like my doctor’s appointments and hair cuts without having to worry about child care or dragging them with me. I can vacuum or clean the house, something that takes me all day currently because I am constantly stopping to tend to someone’s imminent demands. I could even go grab a coffee and read a book at a cafe. Yes, there is a lot to look forward to.
However, there is a part of me that is not sure how I will adjust. For the last four and a half years I have been a hands on Mom for virtually every second of my life that has not been spent at my paying job. I am admittedly a little saddened by the idea that I will no longer have a little one underfoot. It is going to be a little bit lonely.
Watching your children grow up is such a bittersweet experience. You are so excited to see them grow and learn. But with each passing milestone you also see the loss of others. Every time Meredith asks me to hold her, just because, I try to soak in as much of the experience as possible because soon she will be too big for me to hold like that. Or worse, she will stop wanting me to.
In the past, every time Nora reached a new milestone in her life, it would hold a mixture of wistfulness and excitement. But, I could let go and feel the excitement more because I still had Meredith who wasn’t quite there yet. Having both of my kids in school is closing the chapter on a specific part of their childhood and as a result also in my experience as a mother. This is a fact of life. There is no freezing time or turning back the clock.
I understand why parents cry when they drop their kids off for their first day of preschool and eventually (hopefully) college. I am learning yet another challenging part of being a parent… letting go. I guess I should be grateful it comes in stages. I don’t think many parents would be successful at it otherwise.