Someone woke up on the melodramatic side of the bed this morning.
You’ve been warned.
One of the things I have missed since starting back to work again is taking Sadie to school. I miss the time in the car with her: her bossing me around and insisting on her craptastic music, while criticizing the snacks I lovingly prepared for her. I just don’t get that kind of attention from my colleagues at work.
I also miss communing with (some of) the moms at the school, and I miss watching the kids waiting for that exciting moment when their teacher opens the door and ushers them in for 2.75 glorious hours of circle time, free choice, and book buddies.
Last night, I decided to stay up late to finish my work so I would be able to take Sadie to school. It was like old times– she complained when I didn’t play the princess songs in the right order, and she blamed me for hitting a bump and making her spill the applesauce all over her pants. I was all aglow with the familiarity of the routine and the little dance of love between me and Sadie.
When we rolled up to school, Sadie casually mentioned, “I walk in by myself now, Mama.” Like a good mother, I ignored her because (1) I didn’t think I liked the sounds of her not needing me, and (2) I get the shakes when someone changes my routine– and me not walking Sadie all the way inside to her classroom? That’s a big honking change.
When it was time for the children to go inside Sadie erupted in her trademark giggles as she dove from the car to the school. Ahhhh, this is what I have missed, I thought as I watched the tallest girl in the class pat Sadie’s head companionably. I was holding the door to the school open for the kids when Sadie blew me a kiss and disappeared up the stairs.
Whaaaaaaaaaaa? Wait? What?
She must have been serious about that “walking in alone” thing, because there I was standing on the sidewalk solo watching little kids stuffed into colorful puffy jackets stampede up the stairs.
My tears were right there. I thought about the last time I walked Sadie all the way to her classroom– it was two Fridays ago. I had no idea it was my last time.
On my walk back to the car, I pictured her standing outside her classroom door, waiting with all her friends in what is more fully her world now– my place in her world now stops on the sidewalk. Everything from the sidewalk forward? Her territory.
I called a mom friend on the way home, choking back tears, trying to explain how utterly proud and thoroughly sad I feel about having a little independent girl who gave me the big old “I can’t take her from here, Mama” today.
Only a mom could know exactly what to say to my plaintive question “Why does this hurt so much?”
Answer: “Because mothering is all about celebrating the moments when your children move forward while you watch them go with a mix of pride, melancholy, and profound emptiness.”