Today was the first day of school for Ada and Margot. The babies that were just in my tummy bumping around and making me do crazy things like move away from our beloved Brooklyn started Pre-K at Daddy's school today. People always talk about that time flying by thing but can I just say.. whooosh!
Daddy left for school and we put the finishing touches on our backpacks and then loaded into our little red car and headed towards the unknown -aka- the carpool line. Rule follower that I am, I asked at least 3 times yesterday at orientation if it was ok to walk them into class for the first day. Each time I was dutifully told by their teachers to please make every effort to use the carpool line so we can start and keep the precedent for the coming year. We cheered on the way this morning. We prayed for a good day and we thanked the Lord for this incredible blessing of being able to go to this wonderful school. Ada pumped her little fists in the air as we rounded the last turn towards the building and shouted "Thank you God for Pre-K!!!!!!". Thank you God indeed!!! Daddy was there on the curb with their teacher ready to help them down from the car seats. They didn't even stop to say goodbye to dear old mom as they rolled right out of the car. They were old pros from the word go. Praying that continues in the coming weeks as the newness wears off.
I definitely cried. I cried when I picked up the camera this morning to capture the last moments of our life before they became school kids. There go the mornings of letting them stay in their princess nightgowns all morning and playing pretend with those elaborate plot lines. Here come the awesome reports from the days happenings in their classroom with their fabulous teacher. Today I learned that there are a skunk and a puppy in the classroom - but they are not real. I learned parts of a song about being a fisherman and catching fish. I also learned that Ada got to be the leader today. Margot has been speaking in a "teacher voice" since she got home. As in, "Ada. What do we do when we go outside?...... We put on our shoes..right? That's right Ada! We put on our shoes to go outside! And where do they go when we get home? Shhh! Listen... where do they go when we get home? Yes! They go on the shoe rack. That is correct. Good job Ada!". I asked Margot if she might want to be a teacher when she grows up and she nodded shyly and smiled. Asked Ada the same question and I got a resounding "Nope!!!".
So far the biggest lesson for me in their going to school is about what sort of separation this really is. I have always thought the pain and sadness came from the fact that my kids would no longer be at home with me all day (not much pain or sadness there I gotta be honest here). But true to the pattern that the Lord keeps illuminating in my life, the pain I felt yesterday at orientation was the sting of selfish love. Just a tiny bit, mind you, but that's what it was. The teacher was focused on the girls so intently that I couldn't get her look up at me for a second. Why did I want to break her concentration on my daughter anyway? To have her reassure me that everything was going to be fine? It was strange. I knew that it was right for the teacher to be focused on Margot but I kept thinking about myself. Why isn't she looking at me? Does she not like me? Am I not dressed fancy enough? Then I was struck by the realization that it wasn't about me and though I knew that with my mind my heart had apparently just gotten the message. I realized this was another primary relationship developing before my eyes. Teacher and student. They didn't need me to interpret what was going on. They needed me to stand aside and let that relationship happen. I know I am oversimplifying everything here but what I felt was real and I liked that I was able to recognize it. A tiny, itty bitty step towards their eventual total independence. I am thankful they go in tiny itty bitty steps instead of large leaps. I will get used to this newness and find ways to foster it and encourage it's growth and when the next little tiptoe step comes along I will be ready. This is the part I have been looking forward too and yet had no idea how to prepare for. How do you prepare them to be on their own in life and survive? You step back. One tiny shuffle at a time, and let them step forward. That's my answer for today at least.. ask me in a week or two :)