Thursday, September 16, 2010

Something even harder

This week was my girls' first week back at school. We only had a very short summer break (being a year-round school and all) but the "new year" was a massive change, for all of us.

Iris is a first grader now. See? She absolutely emanates first grader-ness, don't you think?

Eloise is in her last year of preschool. I admit to taking a picture of her but it's still on my phone somewhere. Apparently returning to preschool doesn't quite rank the same as moving up a grade in elementary when pictures are involved.

A really peculiar thing happened on Iris's first day of school. She didn't cry. Not a bit. Not a wayward scared glance, not anything. I walked away quite confused. After all, I had heavily prepared myself for the waterworks to continue in to her second year of school considering they lasted through the entire almost 12 months of her first year. Of course, after the confusion quickly subsided, I cheered. Then I smacked myself upside the head for expecting the same behavior out of her this school year. I totally and completely underestimated her.

Then a truly bizarre thing happened. There was no crying on the second day of school. Or the third or fourth. I didn't even get a hug good-bye on all of these days. After school Iris reported that her day had been "awesome" and today, at the start of the usual three-day weekend, she was sad that tomorrow wasn't (gasp!) Monday.


And so, because this blog is about me, me, me, I sit and reflect on my feelings about all of this. I came to only one conclusion:

Leaving my child in hysterics at school every morning was actually easier than watching her run off and leave me behind without so much as a hug or a second glance.

I wasn't prepared for the level of emotion it would elicit inside of me. Wasn't this what I spent all last year hoping and praying for? Yes, I suppose it was. But Iris could have let me down a little easier, couldn't she?

This past week has also been peppered with some other charming behavior designed to push me away in only the perfect way a six year old can. In the "I'm independent now so therefor I'm going to say rotten things to you to demonstrate my need for distance (but ohmygod I'm still so little so don't go TOO far)" sort of way.

I don't like it. Not one bit. Turns out, I need my kids to need me. Like really, really need me. Of course, being a mother means that when our children turn and run towards the world with abandon, we can step back and be crazy proud and not stand in their way. So I'll do that. But you can't make me like it.


  1. Ansel has recently gone through this same transformation. Last year he was a clinging crying mess at drop off, now we hit the playground and he barely looks over his shoulder as yells goodbye to me. Sigh. I think I prefer this version because he's still so cuddly at home. The fear of them not needing me at all in the near future is always in the back of my mind though.

  2. Ah, I totally get what you mean. The days preschool drop-off goes smoothly without a backward glance, I sort of sidle toward the door, looking over my shoulder at my child who's ignoring me, hesitant to leave, like — "Not really, right?" Sigh. At least you know you've done good work and good love to get her to this place.


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