a little freakout is necessary

The interwebs are abuzz with end of the school year photos and posts; "how far we've come," chapters closing, new beginnings. I've been editing this little by little for weeks and briefly considering scrapping it because really Internet, do we need another sappy story about going to kindergarten? We probably don't, but I do. This here blog is my own little family history and graduating from pre-k, that needs to be documented. Yes, graduating from pre-k, camp, kindergarten. Big kid stuff. Lest anyone think I am coping remarkably well with the pending change and the upside down that will be our life next week, here is evidence to the contrary.

When Caroline got her kindergarten assignment, I ripped it open revealing a name of a person I had not yet met who would be charged with creating my daughter's first big kid school experience. I then drove it ceremoniously to school and let her open it again, telling her (since she cannot read) what it said. We now have a name for the elusive and mysterious "kindergarten teacher." I cannot tell you how wonderful it has been to talk about her in reality and not just hypothetical. Last week, I sat with other parents at "partnering with parents" at Camp. I took notes, I compared kid stats (ages, towns) with parents seated around me, and I introduced myself to the transportation coordinator and apologized in advance for all the changes I will surely be making. I've been so impressed all along, but this one session really solidified my good feelings about my choice. Today, Caroline had "Transition Day" at her elementary school to meet her class and teacher. Of course they planned this for noontime because what could be MORE inconvenient? She did remarkably well, setting aside any concerns I had about the transition. My shy Caroline smiled, said hello to her teacher, and stated her whole name loudly and clearly. We met a few friends and she left on such a high that I cannot help but be over the moon excited for her. She graduates from Pre-K Wednesday and on Monday she will get on a bus for the first day of Camp.

Caroline is growing up and I cannot stop it or even slow it down. It's been happening all along, but suddenly, it feels like it is all going so very fast and poof, she's a girl.

They say it goes fast and you listen, but cannot possibly understand what they mean. Logically, you know it will go fast, but when they are so little and needing so much of you, you feel at times like it couldn't possibly go any slower. I have a five year old who just recently started taking an interest in dressing herself. All of you who have self dressers already, wow! You have my admiration and my sympathy. She seems to have an opinion about just about everything. She imparts her knowledge in great heaping spoonfuls and in the next moment cannot recall a single thing she did at school today. She loves her brother fiercely, with all her being, but loves to remind him that she is the bigger kid and he won't be joining her at camp. She pushes my buttons and I swear the neighborhood must think I am doing horrific things to my children.  She sits in time out on her bed and screams as if someone is plucking her fingernails off one.by.one. She follows directions, but seems to always be the first one in line when I ask them to line up in the morning to head downstairs. (That "line up" command is the best thing I ever found to cut the chaos and they obey immediately, amazingly, thank you school!)

Gone is my baby who sat quietly banging a wooden spoon to pan. She has left behind a gorgeous creature with striking brown eyes and lashes that go to infinity. Gone is the little girl who sucked her thumb, enter the youngest singer songwriter in history. My once cautious shy hide behind-er is now a big girl who holds my hand and giggles when people say hello to her. I can't recall the last time I got a request for "show," mostly because she can operate the Netflix app on the iPad better than anyone in the house who is capable of actually paying the service bill.

Kindergarten. I know. I am so flipping excited for her, but feeling so conflicted myself. I'm sure this is how all parents feel. I know I am not the first mom to go through this, nor the last, but this is the only time my first baby will ever leave preschool behind. I am not expecting it to be any easier when her brother turns five, god no! One thing at a time!! Geez. I want to cheer her on and hold her close. I am filled with hope and despair. I can only dream of who she will become and this first step, this first great step, makes me so proud. We got here! She made it! As soon as I smile, I tear up, sad that these simple years under our careful watchful eye and tender hearts are ending, the cruel unfair world awaits her. I have hope that I have instilled in her the knowledge and trust that mommy will always be there, no matter what, no item too small or silly, to hold her close, to listen, or just be there. No matter what. Even if she chooses to move to California or join a circus. If she allows me to celebrate her triumphs, or cares what I have to to say when things aren't so rosy, that's enough for me. I hope she knows someday that being her mother is my absolute privilege and honor. Go get that world Caroline. Take it by the unicorn horn and lead it the way you want to go, knowing mommy and daddy are always there just behind the corner waiting to share whatever small piece of it you are willing to grant. Dream big. Be brave. Stay the course. Be kind. You have all the tools, now go make it happen, just the way YOU want.


  1. I sort of got tears in my eyes and started mentally preparing my blog post I will write in a year when Samantha heads to Kindergarten!