Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wings to Soar

My little princess started preschool yesterday.

Her dad took her for the first day, when they were only to stay for one hour and get to know the classroom, the teacher, where their cubby holes are, how to line up, et cetera. I stayed home with the littlest angel.

Today was her first FULL day of preschool (3 hours, 15 minutes). She also rode the bus today for the first time. I wish I could have gotten a picture of her climbing up onto the bus but I was too busy talking to the bus driver, explaining to my little girl how to be brave, and watching her nearly dislocate her shoulder from the voracious waving goodbye.

The hours ticked by today. I don't remember time going so slow ever before. It's 8:00. Now it's 8:17. Now it's 8:44. Now it's finally 9:00. I can't believe it's only been an hour and it's still TWO HOURS until I can go pick her up.

Normally I would be relishing the time to myself. I would take Violet and we would snuggle up together or read a book or both. We'd make ourselves a snack or pick tomatoes from the garden. Maybe we'd do a puzzle. But today I was completely preoccupied by the clock, and I don't know why. The only guess I have, is that I'm so used to having Sally around that it's just so strange to be apart from her.

My heart hurts a little, not because she's away but because I realize that she's SUPPOSED to be away from me. My heart breaks because I have to admit to myself, this is what a parent does. I'm supposed to give my kids a good start and then throw them to the wolves and hope that they don't get eaten alive. Well, I know I'm supposed to still shelter them and guide them and I know, 4 years old in pre-k is not exactly "being thrown to the wolves" but it's the general idea.

I had a little... ahem... discussion with Texan Papa the other day about our older 3 kids. They are growing and changing and sometimes we forget that the rules we used for them last year or two years ago might not be appropriate for them anymore. Well, I forget but then I'm reminded; Texan Papa refuses to admit that his growing children need a new set of age-appropriate rules. I finally told him, "We have to give them the opportunity to make some decisions on their own! If we make all their decisions for them, they will never learn how to decide anything for themselves. They need this opportunity NOW while they can still safely make mistakes. The decisions they may mess up now aren't nearly as huge or important as the decisions they could mess up down the road, if they don't have any experience with making their best choices." I don't know if my words fell on deaf ears or not, but I was able to say my peace so I hope a little bit sank in.

It's hard to give up that control. I want to and at the same time, I don't want to. I want my children to soar, but at the same time I want to be running behind them just in case they falter.

I guess that's normal. I guess that's healthy. I want my kids to know that when they mess up - and they certainly will, as we all do - that I am there to help them with a shoulder to cry on, a point of view to brainstorm solutions, or a buck to foot the bill until they can pay me back. My parents did at least that much and so much more for me. If I mess up everything else in my life, but my children know that home is a safe place where they are loved & accepted, then I will consider my parenting journey as a success.

Texan Mama


Gigi said...

I can't believe she's in pre-school! As to what you said about letting them learn to make decisions now - yes, it's very true and very important to do so. But it is hard to let go.

Don E. Chute said...

Very nice post...I can still remember when my two now [23yr old son][21yr old daughter]went to there first days of Nursery Shool...then Pre-School...then Elementary School.

Those were some bestest days ever!

PLU from SSF

Jennifer said...

I just can't believe she is big enough for all of that.

nicole said...

She's beautiful! And so big! I love what you wrote, especially the end. That's what I think all of us are trying to do--let them know they're loved, no matter what.

Amy said...

Last night we were watching an episode of Last Man Standing on the DVR. Their youngest started high school and the mom started to cry. So, I did also and my husband looked over at me like I was insane. My youngest is 27 and has 4 children... but I remember that feeling - proud that she's bright and growing, horrified that I've gone from the center of her universe to the side car.

You're right - they need to make decisions and mistakes while the mistakes are easy to clean up and aren't life threatening.