Tuesday, January 8, 2013


To most, 2013 is the year of the snake.
But to me, 2013 is the year of Kindergarten.

I was cleaning out closets, drawers, and nooks and crannies in all this January newness when I found a bottle of baby lotion I used on the lil' dude when she was a newborn. Just flipping open the cap, catching one tiny whiff ... there I was, in the winter of 2008 with my tiny pink swaddle on maternity leave. A kid who slept all day, a stack of novels, a lot of coffee, and as content as I'd ever been.

Those were the days. And yes, these are the days. I'm quick to count my blessings.

I know nothing will change when she enters elementary school. She'll still be the child the Dad and I have raised. The same child who has an iron-clad memory, already understands sarcasm, sings every song on the radio, eats CheezIts for breakfast, sleeps with 47 stuffed animals, and is calmed by ancient episodes of Scooby Doo.

And it's not a separation issue; I've spent more than enough time away from her in five years. She's been in daycare full-time since she was 10 weeks old, in preschool for two years, and spends weeks away from home every summer lounging with her peeps. I kiss her face goodbye just about every month for travel. She goes, I go, we miss, we survive, we come back. I used to miss her as a mother's purpose; I missed her weight on my chest, and her space in mine. Now I miss her as a human; as my tiny friend who tells me enough with the daily scarfs, and that my marinara sauce needs more brown sugar (and she whispers it, because it's our secret ingredient).

And she'll come back a bigger and better person than she already is. She'll come back with arcade jewelry belonging to her friends. She have the wrong artwork in her backpack she'll rightfully return the next morning. She'll lose the baby enunciation's of those last words she hasn't been able to pronounce correctly. She'll read to me at night.

2013 was the first year out of the past many where I didn't wake up on January 1st and wonder when my life was going to change. When I'd get the sign. When I'd announce the news. And it actually feels really, really damn good to wake up, start the coffee, and look for the blonde head buried in its bed and know ... my life has already changed. So all I want for this year is to live, love, and be grateful.

I'm well on my way.

And yes, Kindergarten is out there- way, way out there past several Thursday nights of gymnastics and post Subway dinners, beyond March Madness and long, long walks in the slush. It's at the end of the return of the Koi fish at St. Ben's, birthday cakes baked for the Beagle, the summer week spent in an old, red cabin, and even after new shoes and State Fair corndogs.

No matter how long or how quickly it gets here, I promise I'll be ready.

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