Today I dropped Dotty off at school for her first day of Second Grade. In the car on the drive over I kept giving Dotty helpful hints like...
- Talk less and listen more.
- You have to be a friend to get a friend.
- Talk to the kid no one else is talking to.
- Be a part of the solution not a part of the problem.
- Wash your hands often. Then use hand sanitizer. Then use some more.
- Don't run with scissors. Actually don't run at all...except on the playground. So I guess just don't take your scissors to the playground.
You guessed it...by the last one Dotty was looking at me like I had lost it. What she didn't know was I was trying really hard by talking non-stop to not lose it and start crying like a baby! I mean seriously...this is not our first "first day of school". We have done this three times already (Pre-K, K, and 1st) not to mention all the times I dropped her off at daycares over the years. So why is it still so hard to watch my baby cross off another milestone in life? Why does it feel like time is slipping away from me so fast and the more I try to slow it down the faster it runs through my fingers?
I did pretty good in front of Dotty at school. I kept a smile on my face. I kept it light hearted. I even helped a bit with Dylann who was having a hard time on the first day of Pre-K and Brittany was a little frazzled too. I watched a few of the other kiddos hanging on to their moms' legs as teachers slowly and sweetly pulled them away. I watched this as my own child could barely get away from me fast enough. I had to physically hold Dotty by both shoulders to get a good-bye kiss. She was in such a hurry to see her friends, to get to class...she is in such a hurry to grow up.
While I am trying to always slow her down...she is always trying to speed up. It is a constant war we wage as mother and daughter.
When I got back in the car Brittany sent me a sweet thank you text and mentioned how the day had been tough. I reminded her how good of a mom she was and what a good job she was doing.
It made me think how all moms are so hard on themselves. We want to create these pinterest perfect moments in life and when they fall short we think we have failed as moms. Let me tell you though I know Brittany is no failure. I see it every day when I see Dotty and Dylann. Brittany is one of the good ones...she loves her kids and wants only the best for them...like all moms should.
I know how hard it is to leave a crying child. I know how hard it is to walk away and will yourself to not look back. I know how hard it is to hold back the tears until you get into the car. I know because I have been there. Dotty has had those moments. We have had those moments.
But I also know this...those days of watching a crying child reach for and cry out for their momma are just as hard on a mom as the days when the child can barely say good-bye and runs into the school building without looking back. Those are the days that a momma cries too.
On those days she cries because she is so proud of her baby...and she cries because she knows her baby is no longer a baby.
Soon friends and boyfriends (heaven help me) will be more important than Mom. Soon the homework will be too hard for Mom to help with. Soon the athletic ability will mean Mom is no longer "letting them win". Soon the only times Mom will get a really good snuggle is when there are hurt feelings or a broken heart involved.
Moms cry on these days because they can see the transition coming...and it is closer than they want it to be.
I don't miss the days that Dotty cried when I left...but I also am not looking forward to the days when Dotty won't even let me get out of the car to hug her goodbye. I want my child to be independent in a lot of ways but I also want her to always need me in some ways. I am so proud of the little girl Dotty has become but I want to keep her a little girl as long as possible. I am excited about what the future holds for Dotty but I don't want that future to come any time soon.
Basically I want what I can't have. You can't keep a little kid from growing up...we hope and pray they all get the chance to do just that.
So I do what all moms have done for years and years and will continue to do for years to come. I smile so my kid knows I am okay. I tell her what a great day she will have on this first day of second grade. I laugh at her and her friends and the things they talk about. I get one last hug and a quick kiss and I smile even bigger.
Then I hurry off to my car and I cry once the door is shut. Through my tears I post pics on Facebook and send them via email to great-grandparents. It takes me a few minutes and when the tears are all gone I look up to see I am the last parent in the parking lot. All the other parents have moved on.
And so...I do the same. I move on...I enjoy this last first...and I look forward to the next.