I'm trying something new today: blogging on my phone, from a park bench. The children have been playing well together on their own for months now, but I've only recently started taking them to playgrounds again. That picture of motherhood in my head - at least the one where Mom has a bit of relaxing me-time en plein aire as she watches her kids go down the slide - has finally come to pass.
My youngest munchkin meanders back and forth from the playground to the bench beside me. His sister happily runs around the structure, perhaps in search of new playmates to order around in whatever game is currently on tap in her imagination. Her creativity is no surprise - she's been hatching grandiose schemes for years. This outgoing side of her nature, however, is relatively new, and her willingness to make spontaneous friends still leaves me blinking. It's hard to believe this friendly, if somewhat bossy, child was once the babe who met every smile with a custom 'who said you could look at me' glare. It's as if, after extensive observation, she's got enough of her world figured out to stride forth with confidence - sometimes even abandon.
Today, it seems she's settled for her brother's company. It's just as well, kindergarten comes full-swing on Monday, taking 3 hours out of sibling play time. Next week, I may have one lonely little boy in the mornings - and maybe a teary Mommy to boot. I'm sure we'll figure out how to handle it, just as I'm sure his sister can tackle kindergarten, but this milestone brings its bittersweet twinges all the same.
I'm so proud of my girl whose matured so much, come so far, yet I'm nervous lest her extreme particularity cause trouble for her teacher and create conflict with her classmates. That stubborn streak will come in handy if someone ever offers her meth - I've got this ridiculous vision of her turning down a dealer because his wares don't come in dark pink with dark blue sparkles - in the mean time, she still needs to learn that knowing exactly what you want down to the colour of your underwear doesn't mean you're always going to get it.
I'm relieved, for I've made it through nearly five and a half years of being her primary caregiver, and now it's over - and we're both still here. I will, of course, continue to be her mother, but with teachers now sharing the load of character building, child minding, and educating, the onus isn't solely of me. At the same time, I feel loss, for we'll never have such swaths of uninterrupted time again; it's the next big step in the ongoing process of letting her grow up and learning to let go.
Her first trial day of kindergarten happened last Wednesday. Leaving her in line with her teacher around the back of the school, armed only with a hug and a nonchalant wave, brought on this bittersweet emotional mixture. Now that staggered, small-group entry makes way for the first real full-class morning, I'm sure I'll be feeling it more, but not letting it show, because for my not-so-little beauty, it's all a grand adventure.
N.B. I didn't write the entire post on my phone, and the playground trip actually happened yesterday, but, you know, artistic license and all that jazz ;)