The majority of us strive to be great parents. We do our best to prepare our children for life, for failure and success, for love and heartache, for the ups and down they will inevitably face as time goes on. Each stepping stone is one to be proud of; each new tooth, or smile…each word or sentence said with glee. We think these days will last forever…even though we’re told time and time again they won’t.
The first day of Kindergarten was one I knew would be emotional and exciting. I prepared mentally for it at preschool graduation, as trivial as that may sound to some. In anticipation of the big day, we prepared the backpack, the outfit. We painted nails and discussed hairstyles. We planned on the a.m. photo-ops, for there would be pictures to remember this moment. The only thing I hadn’t planned on was the gigantic, black eye Callie got falling down at Walmart the Saturday before…however that was a small speck in the horizon compared to the huge changes that awaited us.
I made pancakes, and we ran around like chickens with our heads cut off, trying to get in our new routine. Clayton was tired and didn’t want to get up; Shannon was hustling after me and instructing me constantly we will be late if you don’t hurry, as if he was used to getting up and getting the kids ready everyday. Callie walked out the door with a belly full of her favorite breakfast, her hair curled perfectly, and a different outfit than I’d picked out…a much plainer one than I preferred, but a cute one all the same. We were ready.
We walked our five-year-old up to the school along with hundreds of other parents, ready to confront this new phase in life. Clayton didn’t have pants on, and I had wild hair and smudged mascara. We may have looked like the trashy, crazy parents we all eye with their children in Walmart and wonder if we should call CPS…but we didn’t care. This was our day. My baby’sday. I heard all the thoughts running through my brain-Have you succeeded mom? Have you truly prepared her for everything she will face? Is she ready for the trials and tribulations school is sure to bring?
I kissed Callie goodbye, and Callie being Callie, barely noticed. She was already ready to have fun and play…make new friends and enjoy the newness of school. I didn’t blink a tear. I’d cried the night before a little when I thought about dropping her off, a little sniffle…sniffle…and then it was over. I did cry on the ride home though when Clayton kept asking for his sister. Sissy! Sissy! And of course I welted up again when he ran first thing into her room after we got home and crawled under her covers in her pink bed. How could I help it?
We are only on day two, and I’ll have you know, I’m not crying. I’m preparing a schedule and getting ready to plan some great things for Clayton and I to enjoy together…just the two of us. I’m excited for Callie to start bringing home school work and other things that will keep her brain going; keep her busy. I’m ready to help assist in the classroom and PTA as needed, even though I never really pictured myself a PTA mom…I want to be involved.
I’m realizing and accepting; I am so that mom. I’m the crying, sniffling, bumbling idiot I always made fun of before I had kids. Why is she crying? They are in preschool! They still have naps! Good lord. What will she do when they graduate from highschool or get married? Have a heart attack? Well, I may just have a heart attack, thank you very much!
Katrina Epp is co-author of Must.Have.Wine. 81 Reasons Mommies Should Pour That Glass Tonight and blogs about motherhood and family life at Must.Have.Wine.