Oh my. Am I the only one out there who feels like (sometimes), I’m on an amusement park ride and the tattooed carnie just sped it up WAY too fast? My inner voice has been screaming “LET ME OFF THIS THING” for the past couple of months. Where does time go? How is it that the first 18 years of my life seemed endless? I think (in my head at least), that I still feel like the 18 year-old version of myself. The wiser, more comfortable in my own skin, more forgiving, less patient, less cute version of course. And I think being married for 10 years without kids didn’t help in perpetuating that illusion in my mind. It was as if I was waiting for my life to begin, while I waited for my babies to come to me. And now that they have arrived in all their glory, someone hit the fast-forward button.
I can remember when Cammie was a couple of months old, looking at her sweet, innocent face and just sobbing thinking about her going to school: the thought that someone would hurt her feelings, be unkind to her, be unfair to her…the thought that a teacher might be mean to her, or not love her. And David looking at me like - “Seriously? You are ALREADY crying about this?” Yes – as a matter of fact I am. Cause that’s how I roll apparently. I stress out and worry and get myself all worked up over stuff that may or will happen in the future. I remember as a teenager feeling knots in my stomach, for at least 2 or 3 years leading up to being in Jr. Miss my junior year in high school. I knew it was expected of me, that I was going to have to participate in it, and every time I thought I about it, I would feel sick. SICK. It would keep me up at night. How crazy is that? And it was hard, and at moments painful, and in some ways, pretty much the horror I imagined. But there were the unexpected joys and of course it was an experience that was truly good for me, and I would not change a thing.
And flash forward to 2011. I have been a mess. I’m not going to lie. A stressed-out, bundle of nerves, essentially cray-cray, mess. I have agonized over every single detail of Cammie starting kindergarten this fall. Public school vs. private school? Keep her in Montessori or transition her to traditional? Homeschool? I was consumed with making the right choice for her, like what I decided now would determine her future happiness for years to come. I went with my gut and didn’t enroll her in public school. Maybe later, but I felt in my heart that it would not be a positive experience for her coming from 3 years of Montessori. I went with my gut again and against the recommendations of her preschool teachers when I enrolled her in a local private school that uses the Direct Instruction method of teaching (which I had never heard of). After she was accepted, we visited the school for an open house, and I had this overwhelming feeling of peace, that this was exactly where she was supposed to be.
So everything should have been a cakewalk for me after that. Not so much. There’s dress codes and paperwork and vaccination requirements and placement testing and volunteering and school supplies and rules, rules, rules. I have myself so worked up one night that Cammie is going to be kicked out within the first month. (She’s pretty high-energy and pretty talkative and has some self-control issues – I know – a normal 5 year-old lol) And bless my dear friend’s heart, she said to me, something that I’m sure has been said many times – but it was what I needed to hear:
“You, worrying about the future, wrecks your happiness in the present.”
What? All this time, all these years, I’ve been letting myself worry about things I could not change and had no control over that hadn’t even happened yet? And it was stealing happiness that I could be experiencing? Yeah – it was life-changing advice.
Didn’t make her first day this week any easier. I cried the night before while I was packing her lunch, her lunch, that she would eat on her own without me for the first time. I misted up while I was making her blueberry muffins for breakfast. And I cried when I dropped her off.
I did hold it together long enough to wait until I left her classroom, so she would only see me happy for her. But David just held my hand and let me cry as we walked back to the car. I think it lasted 10 minutes. Not bad after 5 years of dreading this day like it was a death sentence. And then Brody and I had a perfectly lovely day—just the 2 of us. We went for a walk. He discovered his shadow.
And I had time to whip up a little banner for my girl while he was napping. And I cried when I picked her up. But that crying was more bittersweet. She walked in the house and saw her banner and said, “Mommy, I love it so much! This has been the best day of my life!!” Such relief and joy that she is happy. That she has loving teachers. That she “didn’t miss me a bit.” Which is just as it should be.
PS. For a cherry on top, who doesn’t love ALL new reasons to craft? I had SOOO much fun making her first week of of Lunchbox Love Notes!