After months of waiting, Joanna finally got to start preschool today. It wasn’t a tough transition. After all, she’s been going to the school since she was born, when the big kids first started there. She knows her way around all the rooms, all the toys, all the teachers. It was hard to get pictures because she was so busy!
So now, three mornings a week, I have an empty house for 2 and a half hours. For the first time in almost eight years. The silence is lovely now. My mind is spinning with plans for how to use those 180 minutes.
And yet, a part of me aches because the end of a time has begun, the end of the time when I was their whole world, the time when everything they experienced was shared with me, Ray, the family. Today begins the time when they do what children are supposed to do — leave their parents. Already Mitzi and Cooper have their own lives, small to be sure, but their own lives of which I don’t know the details. Friends, teachers, thoughts, feelings, games, laughter , struggles, fears — there is so much that they go through every day that I’ll never know, except what they remember to tell me, what they want to tell me. They are growing up, and I couldn’t be prouder of who and where they are now. Still, the leaving, as small as their steps are today, squeezes my heart.
Ellie and Joanna are starting that road too, with as much speed as their little legs can muster. Not very far, not for very long. But they are running to greet their own lives.
It’s what they’re supposed to do. I stand behind them, savoring the moment. I hope they always feel the excitement and possibility that they feel today.
I hope they always know that I will always be here, when it’s time, at last, to come home.