I am the very first one to admit that I cannot wait to send my kids off to school. I actually plan due dates around the time they need to turn a certain age to go to school a year earlier as opposed to a year later (ie, if I can help it, I will NEVER have a baby with a September or October birthday because I'd be annoyed for an entire year that they missed being able to go to school by just a few weeks). I can't wait for Anne to start first grade and be in school the whole day. I'll also be the first to admit that I love my children more than I thought possible. But I need breaks. Having kids has shown me how intense of an introvert I am, how much I need my routine and how much I need downtime, quiet, away from them to be a good mother. I've come to grips with this, accepted it and fully embrace that this is who I am. So sending them to school is a win-win for everyone. I get long, extended time away from my kids and they get to go to school, make friends have fun, new experiences and thrive. Perfect.
Today the kids and I walked down to Anne's school for next year and signed her up for kindergarten. It took all of 5 minutes and means she is one step closer to the year she starts up full day (in 1st grade). I've been excited for this day for a while-looking forward to seeing her start real school, turn more and more into a big kid, etc. So I found it really strange at my unease as we walked home afterwards. It hit me that she's going to school. She'll be in a school that I didn't get to choose, I didn't get to screen, I have no idea who the teachers are, who the workers are, who her classmates will be. I have no clue what they are going to teach her, how she will be treated and what influences she will pick up. Preschool was loads easier because I went to the school ahead of time, I screened it, I choose them, I met the teachers ahead of time and I love everything about her preschool. Kindergarten couldn't more more different. As I walked home I had to fight off feelings of wanting to cry, fight off feelings of intense anxiety and mostly fight off feelings of wanting to grab Anne in my arms and hold her there to prevent time from moving forward and her from growing up and changing from anything other than who she is at this very moment in time. It was a lot. It was intense. And it surprised me.
My little girl has about 3 and a half months and then she starts Kindergarten. Instead of being one step closer to giving me freedom and time to myself, she's one step closer from changing on me, being a big kid, being someone I don't know yet. It's scary. I'm not sure how to navigate this new part of life. I know we'll be okay but still instead of jumping into something I thought would be inviting and fun and exciting, I feel like I'm standing on the edge of a cliff, being told it's perfectly safe to jump and yet I can't help but think maybe it's not.