I’m feeling quite sentimental today.
School just started this week in my neighborhood. Since I typically walk the dog in the morning, I get to navigate through streets flooded with parents and kids scurrying toward the big red brick building that takes up so much of their lives.
It’s charming to see the fanfare that is back to school week. But on a couple occasions, I’ve witnessed the terror — especially for the little ones — that this time of year holds: A parent or two walking hastily down the street with a somber, robotic, even an enraged expression on his or her face as their 3, 4, or 5-year-old kid screams at the top of their lungs, I don’t wanna go!!!!
It’s enough to make me want to curl up under an existential blanket and hide there until Rory turns 10 (they’re usually over the dread by then, right?).
This hits home for me because, a year ago, when we introduced her to a new school back in Nevada, she cried every single day at drop off for five months.
Every. Single. Day.
Do you know how heart wrenching that is? A couple times, as soon as I got home, I sat down with my face in my hands and bawled.
What kind of monster am I to just take my only kid to a building full of strangers and abandon her there? One time, I just took her back home with me. I didn’t have it in me that day.
Looking back, I know it’s absurd to feel such guilt (and I knew she was totally fine as soon as we left — at least that’s what the teachers told us), but it kind of makes sense. Our kids want to be around us. They want to be home. And we should be so fortunate. Because one day, they’ll be 16. And we’ll be wondering why they never talk to us anymore.
Rory started preschool today. At a new school. In a new city. With new faces. And new surroundings. It’s a big day. A day that takes as much spiritual fortitude as a parent can muster.
I know it’s cliche, but they do grow up so fast. I took the photo above because it’s about the last part of her that’s still a little baby. Those indented knuckles. Like tiny little craters on a soft, peach fuzzy moon. Her little fingernails with nail polish chipped from digging around for sticks and rocks in the yard.
When we took her to school, she walked right in. Smiled. Waved. And she was off.
Hold on, Father Time.
Give me a second.
And never let me forget to enjoy this.