I got myself into a bit of a pickle. I requested Faith's therapy classes to be scheduled Tuesday and Thursday mornings while Lila is in preschool. Her wonderful school did just as I asked and we have therapy from 9:30-10:00 on Tuesdays and 9:00-10:30 on Thursdays. The only problem is that Lila has to be at preschool at 9:00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays so I had to figure out how to be two places at once. Thankfully, I was able to arrange for another family (whose son is in Lila's class) to bring Lila to school on Thursdays. It means I will be in the car for about 45 minutes on Thursday mornings, but it's worth it to have therapy and preschool on the same days.
Since today was Lila's first day, however, I wanted to be the one to drop her off. I called in the troops and the Husband's mom volunteered to take Faith to baby class so I could drop Lila off for her first day. Lila was excited to see Nana and I think a little disappointed that Nana was taking Faith to school and not her! ("But! What about me?!" said my Mommy heart) She said, "I thought Nana was going to take me to school and you were going to babysit Faith." Babysit Faith. Ha. I told her I wanted to be the one to take her and she seemed alright with it. Her enthusiasm was positively overwhelming. *Sarcasm*
I tried to get her to talk in the car, but she wanted to sing Firework instead. (Don't judge me for letting my daughter listen to Katy Perry. That song is the only one she knows!) So I enjoyed listening to her sing her heart out with the fake vibrato she's trying out these days.
We got to her school and I grabbed her hand. We walked up the path and I told her that when I was a little girl and went to the same school, Nanny always took a picture of me on the first day in front of the tree. She stood there looking cute and coy and way too old.
I wanted to keep her there forever and just keep capturing who she was at that very moment. Small and excited and wearing the headband and dress she picked out because it matched her room - the Purple Butterflies. But I soldiered on, knowing that was my job. It's her job to go to preschool and learn lots of things. It's my job to let her. (Idon'twannaIdon'twannaIdon'twanna) I grabbed her hand again and squeezed it in our little secret message pattern - squeeze, squeeze, squeeze = I - Love - You. She squeezed back as we climbed the stairs.
The halls were full and busy. Kids were chatting and running and crying. My girl walked purposefully through the halls (and then through another hall and then up and down stairs because Mommy got lost in the hallways and couldn't find the classroom. Sheesh.) with her pink backpack and her princess lunchbox.
As soon as she spotted her room, she quickened her pace and before I knew it I'd lost her. She was too excited, too engaged, too interested in the wonders of her new school to think twice about her dear old mom, who was frankly wishing her daughter found it just a little bit harder to leave her. It was reminiscent of giving her the first bottle of formula after a year of nursing her. I built it up in my mind telling myself, "She's probably not going to like it as much as your milk, but she'll adjust." Then she had the audacity to down the bottle without blinking an eye and I found myself offended that she could have cared less that the liquid came from me or a can. Rude.
I followed her around a bit trying to get her to acknowledge my presence. I quickly realized it was a lost cause and pulled her aside to get a picture with her teacher before she was off again.
Before I left, I stooped down and whispered into her ear "I love you. Jesus loves you. I'm so proud of you. I'm so glad I'm your mommy." And then I kissed her cheek and there were tears, but they were all mine. She's ready. I'm not. It's the beginning of letting her go. The first of many releases into the world that I'd rather save her from. But that same world needs her special kind of spunk and light. How could I be selfish and keep her to myself?
I made it to the car before the tears came in full force. I cried the whole way home behind my sunglasses. I'm crying right now. I know it's silly. I know she'll do great. I know she'll love it. I know it's the exact right place for her to be. But I'm just sad. The way I was sad when I threw away her binks. And her first night in her big girl bed. Saying goodbye to the baby is always hard. Oh, but the big girl is so much fun.
In just 30 short minutes, I'll pack up Little Sister and we'll go pick up Big Sis. I'm hoping she'll run into my arms, but I'm prepared for her to want to stay longer to play. She's confident, that Lila-girl. She's gonna do great things. And I'm going to let her. Reluctantly and with many tears.