Marley had her first day of preschool today,
Monday, August 8, 2011.
It's too soon for me.
Life has thrown so many changes our way in the last year, and I thought that this would be just one more that I would put my head down and barrel through. Like an ox. But today caught me by surprise, both in good ways and rough ones.
For the past week, we've been making all of the preparations for going to preschool that my teacher's mind knows we should do. We visited last week and met her teacher and had a look around. We picked a few things about her new school that seemed especially exciting (think "trampoline" and "playhouse") and talked about them over and over. We went shopping for a backpack, lunch pail, and thermos. I have to admit, that was the really fun part! Marley picked out her backpack all by herself...an awesome pink camo one. I think her Daddy's genetics must be coming through!
Last night we laid out her school clothes, picked out what she wanted for lunch, and *tried* to go to bed early. The bedtime didn't pan out too well, but that's a different story.
Up until this morning, I was doing just fine. I got up before her and put her lunch together. Then I woke a very sleepy little girl up with all the excitement I could muster early in the morning. Our friend Danny came over after working the night shift at his job and joined us for her first official day of school. He has known Jim since they were kids, stood in our wedding, and has been very important to both of us since Jim passed. Marley had some breakfast, got dressed, and we did her hair. Before we knew it, it was time to go! Things went off without a hitch.
Then I took this picture...
...and reality came crashing in.
My baby isn't a baby anymore.
She's a beautiful little three-year-old girl who was bubbling over with excitement about
leaving her Mama and going to school!!!
Of course, I had expected this day to be bittersweet. If you know Marley, you know she is a VERY busy girl. She is a ball of perpetual motion, and her mouth chats from the second she wakes up until she falls asleep at night (and often in her sleep!). I'm not going to lie- part of me really needs a break! But when I asked her to stand for the obligatory first day photo, my mind went back to those pictures that my parents took of me when I was a kindergartener. And to Jim's wish to take her to her first day of school. And to the fact that I was so sad that he's not here to take her, but so glad that Danny was willing to stand in his place for him.
So off we went.
Now, Marley's been in daycare off and on since she was 10 weeks old. That part in itself was not what pulled on my heartstrings. What got me was that the old cliche is true- time truly does fly. If you'd have told me when this precious thing was born that I'd be in a different state from her birthplace, unemployed (oops... I spilled the beans!), and living in an apartment without her Daddy, I'd have kicked you out of my hospital room. So much has changed in her short three years.
And yet she was SO EXCITED!
I mean, look at her again... she's ready! So I guess I'd better be too.
Dropping her off went about how I expected. She put her things away and ran right to the indoor playhouse. We chatted with her teacher for a few minutes. There was lots of hugs and kisses and "Have a great time!". When it was time for us to leave her there, she got a little apprehensive and kept asking us to stay but didn't protest when a helper took her hand to distract her while we quietly slipped out the door.
My thoughts must have shown on my face, because Danny quietly said,
"She'll be OK, Megan. Every kid does this to their parents at first She'll be all settled in by the time you pick her up this afternoon. My kids did the same thing. Come on, let's go."
I wasn't used to this feeling. I'm usually the teacher who encourages the young one to say goodbye with a smile and a wave. I'm not accustomed to being the one who has to FORCE myself to leave my baby with strangers. I hope she didn't notice the battle raging inside me. I don't think she did. This is good for her, and neccessary in order for me to do the things I need to do in order to take the next step in our new lives (more later).
But it sure was hard!
I went home and took a shower and a nap and thought about her all day long. But it was a quiet day, and I haven't had one of those in a long time.
Tomorrow won't be so quiet for me- life moves on at its busy pace. But today was nice.
I went to pick her up this afternoon and she was all smiles. I wanted to run to her and grab her up in a big hug, but she was too busy working with her teacher to do much more than give me a smile and a wave. I almost had to drag her out of there. She can't wait till tomorrow. It'll get easier, right?
My baby isn't a baby anymore.
But I'm so proud to be her Mama!