New Beginnings

Wait. What?

How did this happen? I went to bed last night excited because I was pregnant with my first child, and I woke up today and realized it was her last day of preschool. Ever.

She is officially a kindergartener. As in, she’s going to elementary school next year.

What?

I admit, I really didn’t give today much thought. I was more focused on what I was going to do with ALL the time the girls and I would have together this summer, and how I’d stop Paige’s brain from rotting and forgetting everything she learned. How I’d try to make it through my first cup of coffee in the morning without breaking up a fist fight.

Also, I’ve been on a hefty dose of Zoloft for some time, rendering me basically dead inside. So there’s that.

Then, Paige helped me make her lunch today, and I felt a little tug in my heart. I remembered the very first day of school, what seems like many Septembers ago. Paige was … well, itty-bitty. I cried so hard the first day I dropped her off, convinced she would never need me in the same way again. Counting down the minutes until I could pick her up, worrying about leaving her in the care of someone else’s hands.

But, I chalked it up to sentimentality, and we all rushed out the door, per usual.

Fast forward 10 minutes. Every day at drop off, once we reach a very specific point in the hallway (the carpet, for those of you who know the school), my girls take off running. Paige starts and Blair chases after her, and they round the corner racing towards Paige’s classroom. I can always hear the moms who are already there (aka, ALL the other moms) greeting my girls enthusiastically, and I hear the peals of laughter as the girls see their friends – some of whom we’ve now known for years now.

My breath caught, and my heart leapt into my throat.

Never again.

It was all I could think. Never again will this scene play out. Paige will start Kindergarten, I will drop Blair off at Preschool alone. Most likely, I will drop Paige off at the sidewalk of her new school, and Blair will watch her walk in without her. Even once Blair starts Kindergarten, there will never be the carefree, almost-still-a-toddler attitude that overcame the girls today.

And it was too much. I went to the car, handed Blair her headphones to listen to “Tangled”, and wept. I don’t typically deal well with change anyway, but I was in NO way prepared for today. I was excited about the new beginning of Kindergarten, but failed to realize just exactly what I would be losing today.

In some ways, my pregnancy with Paige and her infant/toddler days seem more recent than Blair’s. Perhaps it’s because she’s my first. Perhaps because once you add more than one child to the family, the days begin to run together, and memories seem less clear and more like snapshots of moments all jumbled together in your brain. But this is the little girl with whom I spent (almost literally) every minute of the first 3 months of her life holding her in my arms – the two of us bundled up against the terribly cold winter, learning to know and love one another with a closeness I had never felt.

I wished away many Preschool days with Paige, and many of them probably deserve to be buried in my memory and wished away (um, can you say “tonsillectomy,” anyone?). But, today?

Today I will always remember. The sight of those two little girls running away from me, laughing their heads off, is one I hope provides a glimpse into their futures.

Running together towards ends and new beginnings, and reminding me along the way to stop and enjoy the ride.

Paigers on her very first day of school - September, 2010 (20 months old)

Paigers on her very first day of school – September, 2010 (20 months old). I mean, those cheeks? Stop.

Paigers, May 2014 - last day of Preschool, ever. 5 years, 4 months old.

Paigers, May 2014 – last day of Preschool, ever. 5 years, 4 months old.

A group of girls (and boy) we've known since we started. Only two will be attending the same school next year, and I could cry just thinking about not seeing these kids and their moms every morning!

A group of girls (and boy) we’ve known since we started. Only two will be attending the same school next year, and I could cry just thinking about not seeing these kids and their moms every morning!