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I’m Losing my Baby to Kindergarten

Someone asked me today how I felt about my daughter starting kindergarten. 

My first response was a chuckle, a hearty chuckle. I scoffed and I said I was going to be just fine. I said she was going to be just fine. I even made a joke that it was about time she got out of my house. We shared a laugh.

But then reality set in. 

Slowly but surely, I started to take stock of what kindergarten really meant for my daughter and me. I’ve never been the one to cry about milestones, hold on to that adorable first pair of baby tennis shoes, or dread birthdays. I’m very good at taking life in the moment and cherishing each step before I take the next one, but knowing full well the next had to come. No matter how much I kicked and screamed, that step would be taken with or without my permission.

But there was something about this particular school transition that all of a sudden hit me.

I’m losing my baby to kindergarten and I didn’t know why this step was so much different than all the other firsts.

Losing my baby to kindergarten

My daughter and I have been nearly inseparable since she was born. I started working as a childcare provider just before I had my daughter. Because of that, I’ve had the luxury of working from home and having so much time with both my kids– my daughter all day long, and my son before/after school and in the summers.

 

Because my son was already in school when my daughter came, things were different the second time around. She and I built a different sort of bond that I so dearly wish I could have had with both my kids.

And now, in the eleventh hour, I almost felt like I had squandered our precious time together.

There wouldn’t be any more of my cherished post-nap snuggles, the ones where she balls up and falls into me completely. Those times when she hangs in this unreachable space between peaceful slumber and wide waking, when her lips puckered as she stretched every muscle from her toes to the tips of her fingers. When the sleep was so fresh that you could still smell it on her. 

There wouldn’t be another lunchtime helper or mother hen watching over the flock when I stepped out of the room. We wouldn’t spend the mornings on the floor sitting “criss-cross-applesauce” building crowns out of Magnetix or constructing a skyscraper out of Mega Blocks.

Who would do the second reading of the exact same book I just got finished reading moments before? No one can do it like my babe: same story, just a little different through her eyes. She even holds the books like I do (out, so the other kids can see all the pages).

And maybe I can easily blame COVID on the newfound closeness my kids and I have felt these past few {long and hard} months. Maybe feeling it come to an end adds an extra bit of apprehension to it all.

But this was always coming.

It was coming no matter how much I truly wanted to push it off. No matter how much I joke that we need our time apart, no matter what shape of brave my face takes today, no matter how badly I want to hold her close and keep her for myself.

Time has swept up around me to take her away.

I know I’m being dramatic. I’m not actually losing her. Those things won’t truly, fully go away. I will just get them in a new way. Like every other stage we’ve been through, I will find new things to dote upon and look forward to. I can’t wait until I’m seeing all the new things she learns, hearing about her friends and her teachers, or finally getting back into a much-needed routine. 

So even though I’m sad I’m losing my baby to kindergarten, I know It won’t take us long at all to find comfort and contentment in the next chapter of our lives.

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