I remember sitting with you, nursing you, rocking you when you were just a few weeks old, a Baby Einstein cd playing in the background. I remember, then, understanding the particular ache of being a mom as I sat, crying, when I heard Canon in D. I cried because I was hormonal, I cried because I was overwhelmed. I cried because life was so different and I wasn't sure if I was ready for that much different. But most of all I cried because I realized that moment by moment time was passing, moments that would never come again. I realized that each moment spent rocking and holding you was a moment that I couldn't get back and that each day you were growing. You were growing and moving towards something bigger and more than that moment of me holding you. That one day I would be watching you walk down the aisle and that the joy of that day would far outshine any sadness I felt but that hidden in tiny, baby girl you was the future.
I remember December 2007, the last time of just me and you. Your brother's due date came and went, I can't say that I was altogether sad about that. We had moved past the infant stage and were now a pair of girls about town. I remember hot chocolate at Border's, visits to the museum, reading books at the library, jaunts through the zoo, snuggling under blankets and eating pretzel sticks. You loved Elmo and reading books with me in the morning in your bed. You baked cookies with me, we did art projects and I wasn't quite ready to let you go, this time of just me and you. Each day I woke to a new day with no new baby I gave a tiny sigh of relief and went about planning our day. Then one week after my due date......................our world was quietly turned upside down and made all the better for it.
I remember you turning 4, June 2010. It was a big year - we finally made you get rid of your binkie. You were only using it at watching time and bed and it was far past time to be done. Such an incongruity for my girl - my girl who was talking clearly, knowing her letters and such a serious soul at just two. But you are a girl who likes to be comforted and change is never good in your mind so we let you keep it. But at 4 we traded you your binkie for the privilege of gum and you never looked back and I wondered why we let you stay back for so long. I remember this birthday, too, because it was the beginning of your last year at home, this year before kindergarten. Again, that mother's ache............
I remember that year, that year before kindergarten. Not every day, not all the time but often I would think this is the last picnic at Jackson park with all three, the last time we all get to go to the fair together to see the horses and sheep and kick about all the dust and mud, even so far as the last time the four of us would grocery shop together. We were such a unit after all these years of togetherness, day in and day out. We had made it through three infancies and now everyone was walking and talking and playing together. I remember wanting to enjoy it, each moment. It was hard to think about sending you on.
I remember your first day of kindergarten, after all the years of dreading that moment, the first moment of letting go. You were so timid, a bit scared. I wondered what we had gotten ourselves into. You were in your new pink shirt, white shorts and shiny shoes. Your too big backpack and matching lunch box hung at your side. It was time. We watched you walk in and I held my breath a tiny bit that day. It seemed such an enormous moment, I just wanted to get through it, past it and know that it was going to be ok.
I remember a few weeks ago, feeling a bit tricked, a bit foolish. I had thought that getting past that first day of kindergarten was the hard part. I had looked to that day with such dread for so long that I thought once we were past that one day, the ache would lessen, it would be the new norm to be down to two and not three. But what I had come to realize is that is was just the beginning, that the end of kindergarten would be just as hard. It meant that kindergarten was over, never to come again. That sweet first year of school, filled with excitement and the newness of jobs and friends and recess and gym. Kindergarten being over doesn't stop time it just means it's moving and moving more rapidly. This first year of school flew by, at warp speed.
I remember..........I remember, my sweet girl, I remember the screaming, spiked haired infant you, the sweet spirited toddler you, the running through the park you, the snuggling under blankets, drinking tea and reading books you. Your moments are sealed in my heart for whenever you want to take them out and remember with me. I love you. I am so proud of you. I love the year you have had in kindergarten. You have far exceeded our expectations of you. You have made friends, loved on your teacher and have met the world head on. I can't wait for the summer to begin, for adventure to happen, for moments to be had.