I just got back from taking Nea to her first day of kindergarten.
She’s ready. And because she’s ready: I’m ready. But I’m feeling a bit emotionally tender for all our mutual readiness. Not tearful, but more like a mild toothache. It only hurts when you think about it, but because it hurts when you think about it, you think about it all the time.
She is in afternoon kindergarten. She told me after lunch that her tummy hurt a little bit, so she thought her hot dogs were yucky. I told her maybe her tummy hurt because she was a little bit scared of going to school. She said no, she wasn’t scared, but that her tummy probably was. I confessed that I had a little tummy ache, too, because I was going to miss her so much while she was at kindergarten. Then we snuggled.
She ran ahead of me the entire time we were walking to school. Joyously shrugged out of her backpack to play on the play equipment. Excitedly greeted the classmates she met last night. Quietly, and slightly nervously stood in line, waiting to go into her room. Flashed me the “I love you” sign repeatedly, as I stood with other parents a short distance away. Smiled when I flashed it back. Tried to speak Chinese to the Asian girl standing ahead of her in line. I wasn’t close enough to hear how that went.
Once Nea was safely in her classroom, Sarah and I went home. Sarah wanted to be carried–a rare event for my uber-independent baby. I think we both wanted some comfort and closeness, after watching our beloved Nea walk fearlessly away from us, and into a bright and shining new world–a world that we will only exist on the edges of.
The odd dichotomy of parenthood: raising them in such a way that they are able to do the very last thing you want them to do–grow up. And now, I’m off to have a bit of a cry.