For your first birthday I had a cake decorated to look like your favorite book, because you were my only child and I had all kinds of time for such things. The woman at the bakery asked if I had cried yet over my daughter turning one.
That’s silly, why would I feel sad about you getting older? I thought.
I had yet to learn that the days are long, but the years are short. Now I’m sitting here nursing my third baby who is half of a year; while my middle one yells for more toilet paper and you, my love, are writing all nine letters of your name on the last of said toilet paper in preparation for kindergarten and I simply can no longer wrap my mind around where the time has gone. It’s hard to believe that while you were once inside of my body and I gave you life--you must now go experience a place without me. It feels almost unfair. I know that sounds selfish, but if you choose to become a parent, I am certain one day you’ll understand. I cannot tell you what the passage of these past five years have felt like because that would be like trying to describe the wind--it’s something we cannot see, only feel. And watching you start school I feel so many things.
I feel curious for the life lessons you will learn that I was not meant to teach you.
I feel scared for things I cannot even type on this page--things so terrifying my breath catches in my throat. If you are there and I am here how would I use my body to shield yours and why do I have to worry about such things?
I feel grateful to leave the phonemic awareness and pencil positioning to the experts, whom I trust completely with your education, with absolutely no teacher there for the paycheck—I need to focus on being your mother.
I feel excited for all that will unfold in front of you that spans beyond the classroom walls. School is a place that unlocks the jungle gym of your mind and explores new vulnerabilities of the heart.
I feel jealous because there will be pieces of your story, I know, you must write alone.
While I’m here feeling all these feelings, I recognize this is not about me and my blubbery tears, it’s about you. And perhaps you may be too young to understand the enormity of these moments, I can see by the crinkle in your forehead your uncertainty of the unknown and I hope I’ve given you enough tools to withstand the weight of it all.
Most of all, I feel nostalgic for the days that it was just us versus the world and now it’s just you out in the world and somehow I already miss you.