This morning started out like the opening scene of Finding Nemo (because I skip the ACTUAL opening scene where Coral and the eggs are massacred by the evil fish). I pounced on Anna all excited-like chanting first day of school! First day of school! She rolled over and flopped back onto her pillow very dramatically and I had to resort to "Just get up already." But we were both still excited.
We got dressed, ate, packed up and were out the door EARLY, which is unheard of for us in the last few months, between Anna's ultra-putzy eating and trying to time everything with a baby. I only teared up twice during breakfast. We didn't forget anything either. Doing well so far! Took the obligatory "first day of school" photos before piling into the car and driving to school.
We dropped Anna off in her classroom alongside several other proud parents. Most of the kids in her class looked more nervous than excited, Anna included. But she remembered her teacher from her home visit last month and that made her feel secure enough for us to leave with just a couple of hugs. Independent girl, that one.
Then I got teary eyed in the hallway outside the classroom and then again at church while we waited for the opening service to start. And again at home as I sat in my suddenly VERY quiet house and realized that I don't really want Anna to be at school. I'm not ready for her to be gone every morning. I'm not ready to share the responsibility of raising and educating her with someone else again. I feel like I just got her back after two and a half years of working full time. (Even though we had a great childcare experience which she still talks about all the time, I missed her horribly during that time.)
I realize it's the first day of a major transition for both of us. And I'm famously lacking in the "logic department." But there's a huge part of me that just wants to call this whole thing off. K4 is not required by law. Let's forget this whole thing and try again next year. I want another year of her being little. Another year of lazy mornings, drinking coffee on our back step while she decorates our driveway with her buckets of sidewalk chalk and colored bubbles. Another year of snuggling on the couch, watching Disney Junior in our PJs. What happened to the summer? What happened to the last 4 years?
When I picked Anna up at lunchtime, she told me that she'd had fun, liked school, and absolutely did NOT want to go back tomorrow. Hmm, kid, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but this was not a one-time thing. After an afternoon of incredible meltdowns and an unheard-of 2 hour nap from Anna, she and I both (separately) had good cries about the fact that she has to go back to school again tomorrow. To her face I was enthusiastically supportive - asking questions about why she doesn't want to go back, offering things to look forward to, hatching plans to ask interesting questions of her classmates to get to know them better. But here, in my room, I'm bawling. Partially because I'm sleep-deprived (thank you very much, Llama Face), but mostly because I want to hug her tight the next time she says she doesn't want to go back and tell her I don't want her to go either and let's just stay here and bake things and hunt for bugs and play Barbies and paint the day away.
But being a grown-up means finding the will to go forward even when you don't want to. So I'll be the grownup and I'll encourage her to keep trying. I can almost promise that by the end of next week I'll have to pry her away from the classroom at pickup time. But I'll still be missing my girl during my quiet mornings.
(A note - I am very thankful for my 1-on-1 time with Henry. But even he was missing her today. She's his favorite person in the world. She loves him more than a buffalo, after all.)