I took Elly for her kindergarden orientation. She was so excited! She could not wait to go. I did not want to take her, I do not want my last baby to grow up. I thought about keeping her home, and not sending her to school, but I won't, it would be for my benefit, not hers.
We walked into the school library, and right away Elly wanted to go and play with a little girl. I wondered who's child she was. All of the other kids had clung to my leg, but not the last one. The one I want to cling to the most is the one who is the most ready to let go of me. At one point she waved to me, and looked a little disappointed when I told her that I was staying. She is going to LOVE school, me not so much. I have visions of stalking my own child. I'll be standing there with my face pressed up against the glass kindergarden classroom. The nice teacher coming out and asking me to go home. It may not be a good scene.
I've been doing this parenthood thing for 17 years. I should be used to this... shouldn't I? I sat there during the orientation biting the inside of cheek forbiding myself to cry. The tears were right on the surface fighting to break out. I sat there remembering each of them leaving me, I mean going to kindergarden. When Gabe went I cried everyday for the year. I also cried when he went to senior kindergarden, and grade 1, 2 and 3. I cried for Grace's first year, everyday. Grace began junior kindergarden in a wheel chair. She had just had her first surgery (there were 4 more after) on her leg. I spent the first week helping her go to the bathroom, taking her for recess, guarding her. When Riley and Rowan went to junior kindergarden I cried, and cried for the first year. I cried also because it was beautiful. There the two of them were holding hands, giving each other strength. At that moment I thought that it would be nice if everyone had a twin. They had each other to cling to. After 17 years of doing this, shouldn't I be better at letting go?
Elly will be just fine leaving me. She proved that to me today. She joined in, she put her hand up to answer questions. She is confident. She got right in there and interacted with the other kids. I was impressed. Part of me felt a little better about leaving her to strangers ( o.k. I'm not leaving her to strangers, it just feels like it). Most of me felt overwhelmed by grief. I will never have another baby. My last baby is already taking steps to her independence, fighting my strangle hold. My last baby is leaving me, and so is my youth. That sounds so melodramatic, but it is also true. If you have a little one, you are still in "that" phase of your life. As much as I call Elly my "baby", I know she's not. She's a little girl. It is my job to prepare my children for life, to teach them what they need to know to have a good life. I am doing that. I have nice, polite, confident children, and I know that is because of what their father and I have instilled in them. I know in my heart, in my soul, that I am raising good citizens that I will be proud of when they reach adulthood. Knowing all of these things does not change the fact that I would like to selfishly keep them all to myself. Knowing that it is the best thing for Elly to go to school, does not change my desire to keep her my little baby, to wish that time could just stand still.