I’m not blogging today.
I had a heartwarming story about my grandmother all ready to go, mentally written while in the shower last night (alas, the memes are true- the shower really is the only quiet place for parents); but I won’t be posting it today.
It’s all your fault.
Before I had you I used to become so perplexed when I heard parents lamenting the fact that their kids were growing and changing.
“Stop growing up!”
“Stop getting so smart!”
These pleas would thoroughly confuse me. Honestly, what was the alternative? What were these parents wishing upon their poor offspring?
Then I met you and in an instant it all made sense.
Fast-forward five years and one month since our initial meeting, to me mentally editing my sweet grandma blog as I bounced down the steps of your preschool. I stopped at the front window, saw your little face smiling down at me, and realized that this would be the last time I ever saw that face from that window.
You broke my heart, kid.
I remember dropping you off in the infant room on your first day, four years and one month ago, and sobbing so uncontrollably that I’m pretty sure I scared your nanny.
I remember your first day of Toddler Room- you wore your “Ruff Boys Construction” shirt and gave me your best “big brave boy” face as I waved goodbye. I wore my best “big brave girl” face until I got to the car and started sobbing again (but hey, at least I didn’t scare the nanny that year).
And now here we are- your last day of Preschool.
Your teddy bear diploma hangs in the frame collage I proudly hung on your bedroom wall, nestled next to a picture of you beaming with Dad, Gracie and me (just before we got in the car, where I cried, and drove to the pizza place to celebrate, where I cried again, as you like to frequently remind me).
All of the photos of your chocolate-making field trip are displayed on our fridge; your arts and crafts masterpieces from preschool summer camp have overtaken our sunroom.
Your shiny new kindergarten sneakers are waiting neatly in the corner of your closet, just underneath the “really cool” dinosaur jacket you picked out all by yourself. You tease me each night as we cross off one more day on the countdown I drew on your bedroom wall- “You’re going to cry, Mommy. It’s ok. I know.”
But you don’t know.
You won’t. Not until you have a little kid looking at you from the second floor window of their preschool for the very last time.
You’ll look at their face and wonder why time is flying by at a pace so frightening that it literally makes you feel lightheaded (alternately, you may have inherited my adrenal problems, so you’ll want to rule that out. But I digress).
You’ll remember placing them gently in their crib on their first day of daycare, a pit settling in your stomach as you berated yourself for never winning the lottery and therefore having to entrust the care of your perfect, beautiful baby to a stranger.
You’ll laugh as you think about how that sweet little baby morphed into a sweaty, booger-caked toddler who happily slammed into you and wrapped your legs in a bear hug every afternoon at pick-up time.
You’ll remember the mornings when that kid was dancing so cheerfully on your last nerve that you practically tossed them at their teacher and ran out screaming “FREEDOM!!”…I mean, that never happened with you. Almost never. Ok, occasionally (once a week).
You’ll remember that little kid’s first kiss, and first “love,” and first argument, and the days when “all the kids wanted to play with MY show & tell today!” and the days when “no one wanted to be my friend today, Mommy…”
I remember all of it. Every tear and every triumph. Every mopey morning when I couldn’t get you out of bed; every rainy afternoon when we sloshed into the car soaking wet because we had just finished a puddle-splashing contest in the parking lot.
And during all of this, there was always that little voice in the back of my mind, whispering, “Please slow down. Please don’t grow up so fast. Please stay little for me.”
This morning, looking up at the window, I could hear that little voice getting a bit louder.
We did the routine we had done dozens of times before- wave with one hand, then the other, then both; blow kisses; stick our tongues out and wiggle back and forth (right in front of the infant room window- if we’re being honest I think I’ve been scaring the nannies at this place the entire time you’ve been enrolled).
Finally, you wave one last time and walk towards your classmates as I walk to my car. But today, as I turned to go, I heard a tap on the window and looked up to find you still standing there, blowing one more kiss, waving one last wave.
That was it. The last time we’d ever do that. Sure, I’ll be dropping you off at school every morning, but I have a feeling Kindergarten Vince is going to be a lot less “let’s wiggle and blow kisses like fools in front of all my friends!” and a lot more “Ok, Mom, you can go now…”
And I get it, believe me. Time passes; babies become toddlers; toddlers become kids who are really embarrassed by their parents. I used to beg my dad to drop me off at the back of the school so no one would see his 1979 Thunderbird (I regret that now…that car was so much more badass than all those 90’s minivans).
And you’re right, I will cry on your first day of kindergarten. And I’ll probably cry on your first day of first grade…and the first time you ride your bike with no training wheels…and the first time you write a poem, or hit a home run, or bake a pie- cut me a break, kid, you’re my first go-round at this whole parenting thing.
I promise I’m not one tissue away from dehydration because I want you to stop becoming the amazing little human that you’re becoming. It’s just that- how do I explain this- every new chapter you begin brings me right back to the first page of our story. The very first time I looked into your squishy face, I wondered who you were going to be. And with every step you take- every new chapter you begin- you’re showing me.
So you see? The tears that welled up in my eyes as I sat in my car this morning were mostly happy tears (until I turned on the radio and “I Hope You Dance” came blaring out at me. Really, Universe- Really??).
So I’m sorry but I’m not blogging today.
It’s all your fault- but please, don’t slow down for me. I’ll put on my “big brave girl” face and try to keep up, I promise.