since i've already written about the anticipation and anxiety leading up to this day, it is only fair that i write about the actual experience of the morning, this first day of kindergarten.
at last, our lazy days of summer came to a screeching halt at 6:30 a.m. a very rude awakening for all of us. i had tried to mentally and physically prepare them, tucking them both in by 8:30 - nearly an hour earlier to what they'd grown accustomed to in recent months.
in addition to our usual bedtime prayers, i prayed with chloe (or rather, for chloe) specifically about today, the beginning of a new normal for all of us. i asked her some questions about kindergarten, hoping to incite some material for journaling, but her answers were all surprisingly matter-of-fact, although she did make mention of wishing that her puppy could go with her and suggested they could have a puppy school inside the elementary school. she also suggested, this morning, that perhaps she start sleeping in her clothes...
we stopped at starbucks to pick up her favorite: their blueberry muffin with a box of organic apple juice. as we drove closer to the school, i worried that she (or that i) might grow more anxious or nervous, but instead, all three of us seemed to grow more excited. i had expected car rider line to take a long time, you know, give us some more time to talk and prepare and soak it all in. instead, car rider line was moving like a well oiled machine.
she was so precious. so very brave. so very excited. there was not an ounce of fear or apprehension in her eyes as she put her school tote on her shoulder and checked her cute little purse to make sure Giraffo was tucked safely inside. "okay, this is it!" i said. i'm grateful i was able to snap a quick photo... just before she slammed the door in my teary eyed face and parker's curious, sleepy stare. "i want to wave at you," she said. and so, as we were pulling away from the curb, she gave us a big smile, and a big wave and then, pink purse in hand, marched right into the doors of elementary school.
it all happened so fast. the blink of an eye and she was gone ... out of my car and into a new phase of her life. just like that.
to my surprise, i didn't shed any tears. my eyes brimmed with tears of joy, excitement and relief that she had done so well, shown such bravery. the independence she had mustered up overnight was still palpable, permeating the interior of my car - and parker, although still half asleep, was soaking it in like a sponge. "i'm going to school by myself," he said. i misunderstood, "yes, chloe is at kindergarten now, so you got to preschool by yourself now with mommy". we pulled up to the preschool, which does not have a car rider line, and i open his door to let him out and walk him in. he looks at me, obviously discontented: "no, mommy, i'm going to school by myself!".
suddenly, i realize what he means. he doesn't want me to walk him in. he doesn't even want me to get out of the car. "well, i have to sign you in at the front, but if you want to walk to class by yourself, you can". after i sign him in, we step into the foyer and i say, "are you sure?". he nods and marches off down the hall to his class. i stand there - partially from shock, but also because i know my parker and he has never shown such a willingess with preschool. i wait, peeking around the corner, feeling absolutely certain as he gets to the door, he will have a moment of hesitation or change his mind altogether. he doesn't look back. i peek around again... and he is gone. the blink of an eye and he was gone, out of my reach and into a new phase of his life, as well. just like that.
i walk back to the car. tears that were merely brimming my eyes before are now streaming down my cheeks.
and i'm reminded of the verse i used in last night's blog: "You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath." Psalm 39:4
the milestones in our lives and our children's lives are bittersweet reminders of the brevity of life, the fragility of life and the urgency to cherish every single moment.
for me, today, is also a sweet reminder of the promise of new beginnings, God's redemptive plan for our lives and His ability to make our lives - no matter how fleeting or at times, failing - to count for the His glory, the One who give us life.