The day my three year old started preschool was a momentous moment in my motherhood career. I was finally going to get a little break and a breather while she was at school for three glorious, whine-free hours. I wasn’t going to be one of those moms crying her eyes out because she couldn’t leave her child, but I was going to be one of those moms with tears of joy streaming down her face doing a happy dance of freedom.
The morning of my daughter’s first day, she got dressed, donned her horsey backpack, and stood in front of the fireplace to have her picture taken. Once she would finally listen to my direction, and I was able to get a good one, we then took another one standing by the front door. And another one next to the car. Now that I think about it, I was trying to stop time, capture every moment before she was officially a student.
Driving her to school, I was nervous. How would she do at drop off? She’d never been to daycare and had only been left with family members up until then. Would she cry and scream? Throw a tantrum? To calm my nerves, I turned on the music. And wouldn’t you know it, that damn Frozen soundtrack was playing. Of course it was on, Let it Go. Of course.
But not the movie version, the Demi Lovato version, which made it all even worse. My eyes filled with tears. What the hell was wrong with me? I told myself I wasn’t going to cry. And there I was driving my daughter to her first day of school, realizing that this was the beginning of the end, and she’d be off to college before I knew it. Which doesn’t sound all that bad now, but let’s face it, it’s terrible. I’ll be so old and exhausted by then, that is, if I even survive the teenage years.
It was not so long ago that my little girl was a little baby, and now she was going to school for the first time, and the enormity hit me like a gust of icy wind. Here I was releasing her into the real world, sending her off to make her own path, and it was too much to process. Luckily, whenever I get emotional and overwhelmed by the feelings of motherhood, my kids know just how to distract me by having a complete meltdown or needing one of their million needs met. They keep me from over-thinking things, or thinking things at all, really.
So by the time we pulled into the parking lot, my avalanche of emotion stopped short by their cries to get out of their seats, and I was able to collect myself. We went inside her classroom, only after taking more pictures outside the door. Everything went well. She didn’t cry, she wasn’t afraid, she was a little unsure, but it didn’t stop her from sitting at the table and playing with the freshly made playdough. It went better than I imagined. She was ready, the only thing I had to do was let. her. go. Oh god, here come the waterworks again. Damn hormones.
And so begins her journey to success, and Mummy’s journey to freedom.