But Mommy! It's not fair that Hopey only had to go to Kindergarten for half days and I have to go all day!
I think about our conversation from a few months ago as we walk into Kindergarten registration. She is hesitant to leave my side to go listen to the story, but I assure her I am not far away, just settling into my seat for the presentation.
When they call the groups of children to go with a teacher, I feel panicked. I thought she was going to be coming back to sit with me before leaving for her activity. I am not prepared. And I did not prepare her.
With a lump in my throat I see the back of her dark blond head when she stands up. I keep waiting for her to turn to look for me, worry on her face. Her green and pink gingham dress disappears around the corner, without a glance back. I have no idea if she is holding back tears or smiling.
I am feeling all things proud and distressed. I don't want her to feel scared or nervous or worried. I want to protect her from all those pit-of-the-stomach feelings. But I know that I can't. And even if I could, I know that I wouldn't. Not really. Those feelings, as unpleasant as they may be, are a necessary and important part of life.
When I pick her up from the classroom she does not want to leave until the story is done. She walks out of the room with a big grin on her face and a twinkle in her eye.
I am relieved, knowing that her first experience of Kindergarten was a positive one.
* * * *
Mommy, I loooove school!
She makes this announcement after preschool, the day after her Kindergarten experience. I smile and give her a hug, proud of how far she's come from the crying little girl I had to physically hand over to her teacher last year, to the confident almost-five-year-old who walks right into the room each day this year.
I pray that she still looooves school next year. I desperately don't want that excitement for school to disappear. But then I realize, that even if she hates it and cries and doesn't want to go every single day, she will adjust. I will adjust. We will adjust. And it might take a long time. But it won't last forever.
It took her over a year to decide she likes preschool, and she survived all that time, and now is thriving. I survived all that time too. We will get through the adjustment of all day Kindergarten, no matter how difficult or how long it takes.
And who knows...maybe we'll all be pleasantly surprised.