Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What a difference a week makes . . .

Dearest MH,

As we were driving to school today, just your third day of preschool, it occurred to me that it felt like a completely normal part of our routine - as natural as my racing off to physical therapy or taking you to one of the many activities we've done together over the past 3 and a half years.

If you had asked me just one week ago if I'd be feeling this way, the answer would have been a resounding "NO!"

Just one week ago, Daddy and I brought you to your new preschool for the first of many "school" days you'll experience over the next 15 years or so. As I predicted (and hoped), you were absolutely thrilled to be there. We spent so much time this summer talking about school, and in the week leading up to it, you became very excited about going to your school.

You decided the night before that the only clothing fit for the first day of school was your beloved giraffe dress from Baby Gap. When you got up in the morning, the first thing you did was get out of your jammies and into that dress - I had to remind you that you needed to put on some underwear! And everyone complimented you on your perfect choice of fashion statement - from the teachers and director of the school to many people who viewed your pictures right here on Mommy's blog. You sure do know how to push the adorability factor.

Before I had even brushed your hair, you'd eaten the special scrambled chopped eggs with mushrooms that Daddy whipped up for you. You brushed your teeth, put on your Crocs, and proudly donned your new Ariel backpack (which is incidentally almost as big as you!), ready to go! You insisted on wearing your hair in a headband, so it would look bee-you-tee-ful. And let me tell you, every little part of you was beautiful, from the inside all the way out.

Since Daddy and I were both taking you to school but driving separate cars, you proudly took the special opportunity to ride with Daddy. I'm glad you got to share a little special time with him on the way to one of the most special moments in our lives. Plus, it gave me a little time to get some great pictures of the two of you walking hand-in-hand in the parking lot, where Bob the Builder was waiting to greet you!

You were quite enthralled with Bob(so was Daddy). In fact, when I asked if you were ready to go inside, you told me that you had to ask Bob one more question! When we finally got inside, you were ecstatic to find a cubby with your name on it, as well as lots and lots of great toys! Off you ran from one area to another, occasionally calling out "Mommy, Daddy, look at this!" Minus your excitement at showing us all the cool discoveries you were making, it was clear that you didn't really need us there. I needed us to be there. To be sure that my little angel was safe and comfortable, and going to be okay without me for the day.

I can easily say that three has been a tough age for us. You push us to our limits on a daily basis, but we know that a huge part of it is that you are growing and becoming an independent little lady. Many times this summer, I said I couldn't wait for school to start, because I knew we both needed it. And we do, but you are still my baby girl, and it was very hard for me to hand you over to someone else's care. Even with all of my back problems over the last couple of years, I have been home with you since the day you were born, and for a big part of me, it's hard to let you go.

However, watching you there, I had no doubt we had chosen the perfect place for you to be. It typical MH fashion, within minutes you had a pocketbook on your shoulder and were taking a baby doll for a ride in a stroller. When Daddy we decided it was time for us to leave, you were so busy playing with a cash register that you barely said goodbye to me. In reality, that's the reaction I should have, and did want you to have. It would have been so much harder if you were crying or begging me not to leave. I'd be lying, though, if I said I didn't shed some tears on the drive home. You were my big girl, completely ready for her new adventure, and you were going to be okay without me.

I managed to occupy myself for most of the day, and I have to admit, the free time was nice! I ran a few errands, caught up on a couple of things at home, but mostly, I kept checking the clock to see if it was time to go pick you up.

The best part of my day was pulling up to the school to get you. You didn't see me, but I saw you - on the big-kid swing, legs pumping away taking you high into the air, with a huge smile on your face. When I got out of the car I heard your little voice chanting "legs out, legs in" - you later told me you were teaching your friends how to pump their legs because they didn't know how. MH - I have shown you many times how to pump your legs, but the first time I saw you doing it all by yourself was at that moment. I was hit with so many emotions. The first was the warmth in my heart seeing how much you were enjoying yourself. Then there was pride - you were such a big girl on that swing by yourself! And of course a little melancholy - when did you turn into that big girl?

You had a wonderful first day. You made a very cute apple which is now hanging in our kitchen. You made a lot of friends whose names you very impressively remembered. And you were very hyped up about your day - we had to call everyone in the family to give them a full report! (To our dismay) you woke up at 4AM the following day asking if you could go to school! You never did go back to sleep, and we had to explain that you wouldn't be going every day, to which you asked your favorite question "Why?" You spent the entire day telling everyone we encountered about your school. It was absolutely adorable.

I will tell you about one moment that broke my heart. Before we left to come home that first day, I took you for one last trip to the bathroom. All of a sudden, you looked up at me with the most serious face and told me you were very sad that I left you there at school. I reminded you that you were having such a good time you barely said goodbye to me. And then I asked you if you cried, to which you giggled and said no. I felt relieved - we talked about how it's okay to miss each other, and that's what makes it so special when we're together again. Within seconds, you were chattering on about more of your day.

That's the thing about being a Mommy. Everything you do and say has such a profound impact on us - not a minute goes by when I'm not worried about your emotional or physical well-being. For one split-second I worried that maybe you weren't ready to be separated from me. But the next second when I asked if you were ready to go home, you begged me to stay and play some more in the playground. Again, I was reassured that we chose the right place and the right time to start school.

Your teachers Miss Karen, Miss Christine, and Miss Amy are wonderful. You are having a blast painting, and coloring, and doing all kinds of special projects. And you have already been dubbed "the welcoming committee" of the preschool - apparently you like to greet all of the parents and ask them their names, along with telling them yours. I love that your charisma and completely outgoing nature are shining through just as they always do. You have such a sweet and charming way about you - I could never really put it into words, but you are like a magnet - people are drawn to you wherever we go. It makes me happy to no end that your personality is just blossoming even more around all the new people you're meeting.

MH, your Daddy and I could not be more proud of you. You will always be our baby, but watching you grow into a little girl is truly amazing. I hope your days will always be filled with the kind of joy and happiness they are right now. You are the most special person I've ever met, and once in a while I need to pinch myself and wonder how I got lucky enough to be your Mommy.

And even if it does break my heart just a little, it's okay if you tell me you miss me. Because I miss you too. And the best part of my day is our reunion, and getting to hear all about the great things you did.

The other best part? The days you're home with me are even more special!

All my love,

2 Fabulous Replies:

poppy said...

Rach honey, welcome to sweetheart's and my world about 30 odd years ago with you (and a few later with your brother.

Carol said...

Oh Rach what a totally beautiful insight.