Consciously, I have plenty of thoughts and feelings as my daughter, my only child, enters first grade, and turns seven in a quarter of a year. Plenty. Mostly, I am excited. I am confident. That's new ground- to not have my heart beating rapidfire against my ribs. To not wring my hands in emotional misery. To not want to punch time in the face for being an asshole. I'm growing up, y'all. Right along side my child.
I didn't write her a letter the night before she started school this year. I didn't ... feel ... like I had to. She doesn't need a operator's manual. She should, technically. As I readied her for her first day, I whispered All Of The Things to her;
Your room number is 214.
Remember to take bus T28 home! Because it's actually Tuesday, not a Monday!
Your lunch code- do you remember it from kindergarten? 9 7 2 6 1 1
I will see you at 2:30pm
I love you 1,000 times.
And then I shoved her out the door and waved goodbye from the porch.
That's a lot of data for a tiny human who still can't pronounce thirsty correctly.
But damn if she doesn't nail life on the head all damn day long.
In fact, when she came skipping down the road from the bus stop at nearly 2:50pm yesterday (no panic here, swear), a neighboring Mama texted me to ask the Lil' Dude where her son was, as he no-showed the bus. Oh, he went to KidStop, for sure. And she was correct, my little mayor of social town. She always knows.
As I said, I didn't have a whole lot to say to her this year. She knows everything I would say.
Do your best.
Do no harm.
(but take no shit)
Don't forget to be rad.
Make good choices.
Talk a little less.
Eat a little more.
Remember where you came from.
But I had a moment this morning when I read this paragraph from author Heather Gudenkauf from her novel "Little Mercies";
Motherhood is a procession of goodbyes. Some bittersweet and filled with promise and hope, some gradual, a gentle prying away of your fingers from something precious, some more violent, unexpected.
Motherhood is a procession of goodbyes. It sure is ... I hadn't thought of it that way until right now. All of those big, huge messy emotional things that live within- are simply goodbyes being processed at their own times. There's a name for what I'm feeling, experiencing each day. The goodbyes have ranged from her no longer needing help at bedtime as she showers, to her extended biking privileges to a further stop sign, choosing all of her own school clothes (oh, the battles we've raged in the name of fashion, Lord help us and maybe little baby Victoria Beckham or Anna Wintour while we're at it), to the evident self-soothing she administers herself as her first line of defense when the wheels fall off. It's all one great big, giant goodbye.
But, it's motherhood's goodbye, not my own. I feel a certain peace when I break it down that way- this godawful knowledge is every single Mama's rite of passage. I am armed and surrounded by villages and legions of women who do this every day. It's my baby niece spending her first night her in her own crib this week at the age of four months. It's three of my Besties sending their kindergartners off on a big, ol' bus this week. It's my aunt as my Goddaughter started her senior year of high school yesterday. It's three other Mama friends who chose to hold their summer babies back from starting their school days for one more year. It's my Grandma's wracked heart as her daughter submits herself to Chemo each week while she's 100 miles away. It's new daycares, new pregnancies, hearing aids fitted at five, Mamas seeing their beautiful baby girls walk down the aisle to the rest of their lives, and driver's ed.
It's all part of this incredible journey I have been so, so lucky to be on.
So in the famous words of Kid Rock herself ... PEACE OUT!
The leavin' here is all good.