Thursday, August 18, 2011

New Beginnings

Last week, I sent my baby off to face the cold, cruel world all alone, without me by her side. Or rather, my baby started Kindergarten.  This mama has taken it hard.

Here we are before leaving on her first day:
No, not really. But that's how it's felt to I'm taking my baby, who should still be little and new, who can't possibly be 5 years old, to elementary school. How in the world did this happen, and why in the world is it so hard on a mama?  

This has been the hardest thing I've faced in my 5+ year mothering experience, and I've wondered, am I being overly dramatic? Am I exaggerating emotions? Am I being stupid about this?

And the answer I've give myself is no. It is hard to cross this threshold. It is big, and there's no going back. So, while I’m excited for her, and all she’s about to embark upon, I’m sad for what we’re leaving behind.  And I’m in utter disbelief that we’re here already.  I spent the night before her first day drinking wine and looking at her baby pictures.  I just cannot believe how time has flown. 

So I did cry quite a bit on the first day, and in the days after, and even some this week, but I held it together in front of Mattie on day one.  I waited until I was in the safety of the parking lot before I really let the tears flow.  I met a group of friends for a post-first-day-drop-off breakfast that morning, and I had to drive around for a bit to compose myself before going.  And I might have scared Presley, because she was with me.  Sorry P!

In the weeks leading up to school starting, Mattie’s nervousness was outweighing her excitement.  She had a whole list of things she was worried about, and we had several occasions of her crying with me reassuring her that it would be OK, and she would love it when she got there, and everybody is nervous, even the teachers, because it's a new year for everyone, etc. etc. etc.  By the time the first day got here, she was more excited than scared, and she had no tears at drop-off.  A huge blessing for me!

On to the pictures!

The week before school started, we did some back to school shopping, and Mattie proved that she is 1) not too big too ride in a stroller, and 2) she is not too old to nap.  We got some stares, and some ladies at Hobby Lobby even questioned her age, and embarrassed her terribly.  But she stayed in it all day.

The day before school, we joined some friends for back-to-school pedicures.  She loved this, and even though it physically hurt me when I saw the bill, I’m glad we did it.  It took her mind off her worries, and let us both relax for a while.  For the record, she smeared her toes within 30 seconds of leaving the nail place.  Still worth it.
Mattie’s signature was required on some of the school forms.  This was so precious to me:
And here we are, just before leaving.  Our school has a theme on the first day, and this year it was a “sports/go team” theme, so we wore a Wildcat (our mascot) outfit.  The school was AH-MAZING the first day….band, cheerleaders, football run-through…..all greeting the kids when they showed up for school.  Definitely made it fun!

Sister had to get in for a shot, and even though she wasn’t going to MDO until the next day, she wanted her backpack in the picture too.  She’s doing what we call her “cute face” here…she puts her hands on her cheeks and smiles.

My girls.

I have teared up just about every time I’ve looked at this picture.  This was just before I left her in her room.  She looked so BIG:
I let Mattie choose a special something for her first day after school treat.  Ever the woman, she chose chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting.  So I spent the first day of school baking these:
This is some of the work she brought home the first day.  I just love this….so funny and sweet….it’s a self portrait:
  And here we are this week, with our first homework (blah!):
And here’s the grade we got on our first homework (yea!):
Mattie has had a very good start to school.  The separation from me has been hard, and she told me almost everyday last week that she cried a little bit while on the playground because she starts thinking about me.  Yesterday I asked her how she did on the playground, and she thought for a second, and said “I didn’t think about you at all, I forgot all about you”.  So.  We’re making some progress. 
I’ve also been putting a note in her lunch box each day, just a little love note written on her napkin, and she has brought them home every single day, all used and smeared with cheetoh dust and jelly, because she said they make her happy and she wants to keep them.  Kill me now. 
I know she’s going to have a great year.  We chose an amazing school for her.  She’s got the kind of teacher that you dream of your child having for kindergarten.  She’s got tons of friends in her class.  The staff at the school is just wonderful.  And Mattie is a smart girl who enjoys learning.  So, as long as I can hold it together, we are in for a truly special year.  But no one can tell me that it’s any harder to take your child to college than it is to take them to kindergarten.  I guess I’ll find out in 13 years. 
And not to be outdone, baby sister started back to Mother’s Day Out a week ago.  In the past few weeks, we have made several trips to the store to get Mattie’s school supplies all bought, and each time, Presley wanted something for herself, but left empty handed.  I finally caved the last time, and let her get this cat folder, to keep all her cat pictures in.  Even though we don’t own one, this child is absolutely cat obsessed.  We cut pictures of cats out of magazines for her, and she carries them around for days.  Now she has a place to keep them all.  
  And here is the little mess on her first morning of MDO:
I’ve already asked her, and she said she’s never going to Kindergarten, she’s going to stay with me forever.  OK!
We ended last week by going the Purple and White game here in town, which is the kickoff of football season for our local junior high and high school teams, including our daddy’s team.  Here’s my girl’s in there purple and white, looking maybe as cute as I’ve ever seen them. 
I’m very happy to be in a little bit of a routine again, even though it’s about to get crazy with dance, soccer, football games, etc.  And I’m very, very ready for fall!!  Hope everyone had a good start back to school.