Nobody warned me. Nobody told me how hard this would be. But fighting back the tears, I found out first hand how hard it is. I’ve told you that my girls start kindergarten next week. We knew that was going to be a hard transition for them. But in looking toward that, I failed to see how hard yesterday, the last day at their current school, would be. Not for them, but for me. They’ve been at this school since they were six months old…babyhood, toddlerhood, pre-school, pre-K…it’s all been there at this wonderful little faith-based school. It’s all we’ve known. And as I signed them in yesterday morning for the last time, the tears that quickly came caught me a little off guard. I hugged Ms. Mary, thanked her for everything she’s done for my girls this year, and then told her we’d be back to visit. Then I went to see Ms. Barbara. Funny thing about Ms. Barbara. For whatever reason, she moved with the girls every year except this last year for pre-K. She was with them in the baby room; she was with them in the toddler room and the two-year-old room; she and Ms. Belinda were their three-year-old preschool teachers. It wasn’t until pre-K that she was no longer their teacher. Yet every morning when they got there this year, and every afternoon before they’d let DH walk out the door with them, they had to hug Ms. Barbara’s neck.
I have to admit, the first couple of years, Ms. Barbara was not my favorite teacher. She seemed a little hard on the children. But by preschool, I saw how much she truly adored them and they her. Yes, she made them mind, but that was really a good thing, wasn’t it. She helped mold my girls into the well-mannered five-year-olds they are today. So yes, I had to see Ms. Barbara. As I was walking into her classroom, she was sitting down trying to straighten up and prepare for the last big day. When she looked up and saw me, she said, “Oh Lord, not my girls’ Mama, I’ve already been crying enough this morning!” Before she even stood up to give me a hug, we both already had tears streaming down our faces. I wanted to hug a couple more necks but I had to get out of there before I truly started sobbing. Wow. Unexpected…
Change is inevitable. I know that. Yet this thing called parenthood brings in so many new elements to what that change is. I’ve been so anxious for my girls’ making the change, hoping and praying that they’d adjust well, trying to allay their fears by telling them how exciting and fun going to “big girl school” will be, that I completely overlooked my perspective of the change and its effect on me. I sit here today a mother. But not the same mother I was before yesterday morning. A short fifteen minutes of time changed me. I’m sure this happens to all Moms at some point. The realization hits that while we can guide and nurture and hope to mold who our children are, ultimately, there are other people in their lives that at times may have an even greater impact, and we are so incredibly blessed that these people have been in our children’s lives. Those are the Ms. Barbara’s and Ms. Belinda’s, the Ms. Tammy’s and Ms. Mary’s, and the Ms. Gaye’s and Ms. Jackie’s and Ms. Tawnda’s of the world. How do we teach our children to say goodbye when we are struggling so terribly with it ourselves? My girls didn’t see my tears this morning. I know after a week or two they’ll adapt just fine, as children always do. But I know they’ll have tears of their own when this realization hits them…when they have children of their own who face a milestone in this wonderfully scary thing called “growing up”. I pray I’m still around to help them through that day.
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