You’ve been talking about your first day of school for months. You love watching the neighbors get on and off the bus next door. We got you a backpack to take back and forth to the sitter’s so you could be like the big kids.
You’re more than ready for this.
It’s not you I’m worried about. It’s me.
Before you were born I vowed not to waste your childhood wishing that I could halt it, because then I’d be missing out on the gift that is the present. So I have tried to take each day as it comes, enjoying it for what it is. There are days that I wish we could forget, and so many more that I wish never ended. Either way I try to enjoy being in the moment with you.
But tomorrow is a big day. Tomorrow you start a new chapter. Tomorrow you start preschool.
As tempting as it is to wish that today would never end, I’m sticking to my promise and trying to embrace it with open arms. You have grown up so much this past summer. From transitioning to a new room and ‘big girl’ bed, to no longer wearing diapers during the day, to welcoming your baby sister and taking on the role of big sis, it’s been a lot of change for you. And I couldn’t be more proud.
This won’t be the first time we’ve left you in the care of someone else. You started daycare at 11 months old. But somehow this is different. Somehow this means you’re really growing up. Even though you haven’t been a baby for quite some time, starting preschool means those baby days are over. It’s the beginning of a long journey of learning and growing, a journey that I hope you love as much as I did.
I know it’s only a few hours, two days a week, but everyone has warned me that you’re going to change so much this year. I think it’s going to change me, too. For the first time I’m afraid I’m going to miss out on a lot of your firsts. Since I’ll be at work while you’re at school, I can’t volunteer to be there for holiday parties or field trips. I won’t get to watch as you make your first friend. I won’t be there to defend you the first time someone hurts your feelings.
I’m going to have to learn how to be okay with that.
So don’t mind me if I cry a little as I let go of your hand tomorrow and watch you walk into your classroom. I told you it’s not you I’m worried about, it’s me. It’s a new adventure for both of us and I know you’re going to make me so proud.
As you embark on this new chapter remember to use your manners, listen to your teacher, learn as much as you can, and above all else be kind. I don’t care if you’re the smartest kid, the fastest kid or the most talented kid. If all your teacher can comment on is your kindness, then I’ve done my job.
You’re going to do great things one day, Calista. Tomorrow is just the beginning.
P.S. Bring me home one of those handprint signs, preferably covered in glitter.