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Children / Motherhood / School

Kindergarten Sendoff: When my youngest flew the coop

Kindergarten Sendoff: When my youngest flew the coop

I am not usually the sentimental type. While other parents cherish the little moments when their little ones curl up on their laps, I have been eagerly awaiting getting some space. Don’t get me wrong, I do absolutely love my children. They are my heart and soul, and my reason for breathing. But after 12 years of being a mom, there are more times than not when I feel, for lack of a better way of putting it, touched out.

You know what I’m talking about, right? When your body no longer feels like your own because somebody is always touching you, grabbing you, needing you? I know, I know—that’s what being a mom is. But there have been times in the past few years where I have found myself yearning for the moment when I might be able to pee without an audience. Where I wasn’t a living jungle gym for tiny feet and hands to explore. Where I am not getting pseudo-accidentally punched in the boob or the babymaker on a semi-regular basis from being crawled all over. Where I could relish in a little bit of “me time.”

Did I mention it has been 12 years since I had some good, old-fashioned me time? 12. Years. Involuntary manslaughter has a shorter sentence. And no, I’m not equating motherhood to a prison sentence. Well, I sort of am because it sort of is, but it’s not necessarily in a bad way.

So, as you can see, I’m not somebody who most people would label as sentimental. Yet last week, I stood for a moment in my 5-year-old daughter’s doorway and watched her sleep for a few moments. Her long, dark-blonde hair a complete rat’s nest from a day of hard play framing her angelic little face, and I had a pang of loss. It hit me right then—I am about to lose her.

You see, last week was the eve of our district’s “Back to School Night!” where we get to find out whose classes my kids are going to be in this year. We will load up their backpacks with this year’s school supplies and traipse across the threshold of the elementary school and the middle school, spend twenty minutes sorting supplies into neatly labeled yet chaotically messy piles in each teacher’s classrooms, and spend maybe another thirty seconds introducing our children to this year’s target (I mean teacher). The kids will excitedly chatter with some of their classmates and begin plotting the newest ways to boycott homework and sneak gum into school. And it is my baby girl’s first year going to school. I am getting ready to send her out into the world. And this is where I start to lose her, just a little bit at a time.

Up until now, for the past 12 years, I have been a stay-at-home-mom. My kids have literally been the sun to my universe. I spend the days wrangling shoes, picking raisins out of trail mix, smearing sour cream onto tortillas, cutting crusts, hunting hair brushes, wiping noses, yanking out hair (I mean combing hair), locating lost glasses, and refereeing arguments with amazing tenacity. And every four years, another one of my children has begun school. And I no longer have a say about every little thing they do with their day. I lose a few precious hours each and every day to the schools. Each attachment formed with another person is another little thread that is detached from me. And if I do my job right as their mother, it will happen with alarming regularity until they are ready to stand on their own. But this process—starting kindergarten—it is the very first thread that is cut. This is where I start to lose her, just like her brothers before her.

Her brothers are amazing little boys. I think my husband and I have done alright by them. The oldest, 12, just tested into the gifted program at school and is kind, generous, and an incredibly hard worker. My middle, 8-going on- 50, is funny, imaginative, and perpetual worrier. And now my princess, my baby girl, 5, is about to make her way into the world one bus-ride at a time. I knew this day was coming, and yet…I’m feeling an incredible sadness knowing this is it. I am taking the first step to losing her to the world. It’s not a bad thing at all. But maybe my desire for “me time” has been highly overrated….

Rachael is a 38-year-old mom of three who is originally from the suburbs of Chicago but now lives in Brighton.  She enjoys showering without an audience and waiting until her kids are in bed before opening the “good snacks.” She has been married to her husband for 13 years.

Mile High Mamas
Author: Mile High Mamas

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  1. Soooo sweet! I think we’ve all been there. I was definitely sentimental leaving my sweet son at kindergarten but he was only there for 2.5 hours–less than preschool. For me, my big transition came when he went to first grade and both kids were gone for the entire day. After dropping him off, I hiked, refinished furniture, got caught up on work and went to lunch. I felt like I had been liberated for seven glorious hours. It’s amazing how much you can get done and recharge before they’re home again!

  2. Perfect timing! I have to admit I’ve been in a funk since I dropped my youngest off a couple of weeks ago. My house has never looked better but I’m not quite sure how to fill my days after volunteering in the kids’ classes!

  3. This is the sweetest thing ever. I just sent my first child to kindergarten and can’t imagine sending my last. Right now, I dream of having the break but it makes me sad to think about it.

  4. Sweet memories!!! The push and pull of our babies growing up. For me, my children going off to college was the worst. I felt like the only life I knew for 24 years as my three left home, was over. I promise, it does get better!!!

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