Today was truly a momentous occasion and it came with a whole flood of emotions. Devyn's first day of Kindergarten! I guess until very recently I’ve kind of mentally blocked the kindergarten thing. Now all of a sudden, it’s upon me. It’s funny how life sneaks up on you when you’re not paying attention. I’ve been reading different posts on Facebook this week about various friends and family sending their children off to college. I keep thinking what that must be like. No doubt it’s a mixed bag of emotions. How wonderful it must be to watch your children grow and thrive. How gratifying it must be to know they are pursuing an education and you helped get them there. And yet, how bitter it must be to drive away from that campus and send them off into the world. And it all starts with kindergarten.
It was hard to predict how she would handle separation on the first day of kindergarten. When Devyn was young, she obviously went through what they call separation anxiety — whatever that is and whoever “they” are. I couldn't even take one step away without her screaming at the top of her lungs. I remember thinking, "Someone PLEASE TELL ME THIS IS NORMAL!" As she grew older, she got much better. So when I finally had to prepare for today, it was very unnerving for me. I imagined her clinging to me in terror, or skipping happily off without even a parting glance in my direction.
The morning started off great. I woke up to find that my husband had taken the day off just so he wouldn't miss her first day of school. I wasn't surprised, for the past 5 years, he's babied her. Devyn seemed excited and anxious. As I was in the bathroom getting ready, she walks in, sits down and has this terrifying look on her face. "Mom, I think I want to be in the same class as Jaice now" (my nephew who also started school today) and then "Mom, I'm scared" over and over again. My heart dropped. Just as we're about to leave, she starts to freak out! So, I had to pull out the Coach Mickey in me and give her a good pep-talk.
Devyn also gave me a hard time about wanting to fix her own hair. I was devastated. It was the first day of school and she would be gone for a few hours and now she doesn't even want me to do her hair-which I always did. I felt emotional because she's growing up and she wants to do things on her own. She's not going to need me soon. I was very excited for my babygirl, but I wanted to be a part of it! It would have been great if I could just sit in class with her. I felt like I was missing out on what was going on in her life somehow.
For nearly six years now, I have had the privilege of being home a lot with Devyn. In those early days, it was just me and Devyn most the time. We have a special bond. I love this little girl fiercely and can’t wait to watch her grow. And yet, I’m sad because a chapter of my life is ending. She started school. She will be out of my sight every day. That mama bear instinct is rearing its head. I want to protect her always. I want to spare her from disappointment. I want to shield her from bullies. I want to let her know we are there supporting her even when she can’t see us. The best I can do is continue to nurture her and hope that we will provide enough of a foundation for her to succeed.
Letting go has got to be one of life’s most difficult challenges. I know it's time for me to let go and send my kindergartner off into the world. I’m excited for the road ahead and excited for my babygirl. I’d be lying though if I said I didn't get teary. It was that first symbolic step from the nest — for both of us. Devyn saw how excited my cute nephew Jaice was and everything was smooth sailing from there. Today was a great day.