By Elisabeth Corcoran
First day of kindergarten story... So Sara and I are walking to school for the very first time, and we're holding hands and talking, and I ask her how she's feeling. "Well," she says, "I'm a little bit happy and a little bit excited." And I'm about to throw up, I think to myself. We walk across the playground and stand in line with her 17 classmates and their 34 parents, who all seem to be having the first day jitters like I am.
And just when I think I have the one child on the face of the earth who is not nervous, Sara leaned in, rested her head against me, and wrapped her arms around my legs. I knelt down and said softly, "Would you like me to pray for you?" And she quietly asked, "Why?" And I said, "To make sure that you feel better," to which she replied, "Okay." So I took her hands in mine, thinking how I'm about to have one of those teaching moments that all the books tell you to watch for and grab, all while trying to burn this precious memory onto my brain, and I said, "Okay, let's pray." And my sweet, spiritually-mature Sara says, "Pray? I thought you said pay. Never mind." So, talking with the Creator of the universe won't help you right now, but two bucks would ease your mind? Memory officially burned on my brain, thank you very much.
You know, other than that delightful moment, nothing earth shattering has happened with my daughter's entrance into kindergarten. She's used to it already. It's just a part of her life now. Me on the other hand - well, I can't seem to quite get a grasp on this new reality. There are the practicals, for sure. I'm now expected to get up at a certain early time every day, whereas up to this point, I've pretty much been the setter of my own schedule. And there's the fact that I can't wear my pajamas for days in a row - I kind of have to look somewhat presentable every day; as do my children, who I used to revel in seeing how long they'd let me keep them in bedhead.
But the biggest adjustment has been the quietest one - the one stirring in my heart. The one that is desperately trying to hold onto the sweet little life that the three of us created in the womb of our home, sometimes not needing to leave for days at a time, with no one but us establishing the pace. And the part, of course, where I am reminded with each walk to school that she is a little less mine now. That I cannot protect her when she's there. That for 2 hours and 23 minutes a day, I have no idea really what is going on in her life. Each day I walk her to school, I am walking a walk of letting go. And I fear that I will not get used to this feeling anytime soon. And maybe, just maybe, that's okay. Because I can almost make out the faintest of Images standing next to her on the playground as I turn to leave. And I know the Someone who takes her hand and walks her through the school doors when I am walking back home. And I know the One who sits next to her when her new little friend won't share. And I am trusting in the Person who loves her more intimately than I do. So yes, maybe, it's all going to be okay.
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