School started this week for the little one - I think we both did pretty good. She's been a little mopey and even a little smart-mouthed (my mother said "Welcome to parenthood, dear!" when I told her that part) when she comes home. I know there's worse things than having little kids not be friends with your little kid, but I can't think of any of them right now. I made sure she had a Tinkerbell backpack and a Barbie lunchbox, just to hedge her bets a little.
The first real day of school (the day before we went in for an hour to meet the teacher and make kindergarten-sized flowers) I took half a day off work to take her up to the playground. We waited for all the kids to line up outside their respective grades' doors. I could hear kid conversations flowing all around me; it all seemed so familiar. "Do you know if Brandon is coming back to school this year?" "No, he moved away." "Good - that kid was totally gross."
As 8:20 loomed closer, the kids lined up in front of the school. I started to notice that in the kindergarten line, all the kids' parents were standing with them. Were we all going to kindergarten, again? I decided my daughter would be fine to go in by herself, and as the kindergartners began to trickle past the principal, who was shaking all their little hands, I kissed her, told her to have a great time, and stood off to the side. There. I had released her into the wild.
I noticed that at this point I was the only parent stepping off to the side. ALL the other parents were marching into the kindergarten hall, with it's bright primary colors and wooden cubbies filling with backpacks and gym shoes. I was such the strong mommy, standing in the doorway, peering in at her but standing firmly outside the school doors. I thought for a split-second maybe I should run and catch up with her, in case the teachers were planning some big game with the parents and kids, and she needed me to be there. But I knew it was too late, and it didn't matter anyway. She would be fine. My heart felt bigger as I turned and walked away, knowing that I could probably cry about this if I was a little more emotional person, but I'm not.
There's a lot going on in her life right now; not only is she adjusting to kindergarten, but she also has to adjust to the daycare she's in while not in kindergarten. There's also a new baby on the way. My co-worker told me to think if it like this: what if your husband sat you down one day and said, "Honey, I'm bringing home a new wife. Don't worry, I'm still going to love you just as much as before. But I'm really going to need your help taking care of the new wife..." That made me stop and think about how we've been approaching the whole issue.
Right now she's at home with my mother, who drove in from Houston and got here yesterday. Hopefully it will give them some time to warm up to each other again - that ritual they go through after every long absence. I'm glad my mom's here, and can't wait for my dad to join her next week. But these type of situations can be sticky, so send some positive vibes our way.