I remember the first day I dropped you off, a sweet mom’s morning out class, just three hours a week. You held my hand as you walked in with your chubby toddler wobble while I pushed your newborn brother in the stroller. I remember looking down at you and saying, this is school and I’ll be back in a few hours. Your eyes filled with tears and I promised I would be back, I wondered if you were ready.
Then today you strolled in talking about how you were going to miss your teachers this summer and gave me a hug goodbye and ran off to your class. Your last day of preschool and I held back tears as I told you I loved you. I made it all the way to the parking lot till I let them fall heavy in the car. I thought I’d be ready for this. I thought I’d be ready to say goodbye to the few hours a week preschool and hello to real-world school. I thought these past years of Christmas programs, bible stories, and drawing letters had prepared you for the next stage. And they have. And you are. But I’m not.
What I didn’t count on is that I wouldn’t be ready to let go when the time came. I didn’t count on numbering the days you had left at home with us until you’re gone, not 10 hours a week but 37. I didn’t count on your brother being your best friend and telling me how
much he misses you when you aren’t around. I didn’t realize how much I would miss your morning dance parties and made up songs. I didn’t realize how much I’ve loved slow breakfasts and lazy cartoons before we are all ready to take on the day. I didn’t realize how much I had taken for granted that I’ve had the opportunity to be by your side for most of your life.
So while I watched you bound down the preschool hall today for the last time I couldn’t help but wonder how we will all do next year without you, when you’re where you need to be but where we will miss you so terribly much.
I thought I’d be ready. I thought my heart would take about five years to prepare for the day you move on just ever so slightly but it turns out it needs more. I read a blog once that said, “I don’t want more babies I want more time with the babies I have.” Today my heart it breaking just a little as I realize I want more time with you. I want more days where we live in the cocoon of staying home and staying close. I’m not ready for the world and the questions that will come as you take steps towards more freedom. I’m not ready for you not to want to walk hand in hand as you ask me why God made dolphins without feet, or why summer is so hot, or when we can go on a picnic again. I’m not ready… but I’ll gear up and get on board and cheer you on as you walk confidently into the next thing. You won’t feel my fear or hear me asking if you can do it. I know you can, but I know there will be days like today when I cry in the car with my sunglasses on and hope you don’t see because growing up is harder than I thought.
It’s funny how over the past five years there were two things I always thought I needed more of, time and freedom, I thought if I could just get a little more of that I won’t feel as stressed or tired or overwhelmed etc. Well here I am standing at the door of both and what I really want is what I’ve had all along.