I didn’t think I would be too bad. We even bought school shoes this morning and everything, and yet no overwhelming emotion struck me at what the next day held…
I thought, ‘I am going to be ok.’
It didn’t hit me, until I was at the Coles check out.
Baby girl started to squirm and bounce around a little, and before I verbalised the feared signs I knew so well, she told me she needed the loo.
I had just unloaded all our shopping onto the conveyor belt. There was a lady being served in front of me, but she was with her elderly mother who was in a wheelchair, and had groceries of her own she was paying for, and was then divvying up her mother’s groceries, so that it was taking some time for the check out guy to work it all out.
I hesitated. For a moment, I questioned…
‘Should I let her go to the toilets alone?’
It was a mini shopping centre we frequented weekly, if not more often. Baby girl knew where they were. She wouldn’t get lost, surely.
But there were so many people that day. It was packed, being the last day of holidays for so many… Mums and Dads and kids and grannies and grandads, all milling around like chains and locks were going to be wrapped around the shopping centre’s entrance the next day.
I pondered it, for a few moments. I even asked baby girl how she felt about going on her own.
But then I realised, strongly. HELL NO. She was 5. Regardless of that… I could not let her go.
I explained to the check out guy I had to take baby girl to the toilets, and amazingly we were back in time as the two ladies finished up and he started setting up my reusable bags.
But the grocery shopping, or the toilets, wasn’t EVEN the point.
I was suddenly filled with anxiety, dread, fear and paranoia, all at once.
I could not let her go… but I had to.
I saw that the contemplation of letting her go a couple hundred metres on her own, had filled me with such unease, but it was a situation that was completely unavoidable.
Because at one stage or another, I had to let her go. And suddenly, my time was up.
Because tomorrow is the start of prep.
Most of the day has been spent preparing for it. In between ironing on labels to her school clothes, I’ve spent the other moments just staring at her with a frozen smile, willing her face at that time into my memory forever.
Setting up her lunchbox and bag, and then playing with her, letting her drag it out for another minute, then another minute…
Telling her how proud we are of her…
And then bursting into tears the next minute.
Get a grip! I told myself. You are picking her up at 12:30! After the half-days, you will still be together from 3:30!
But I can’t kid myself. It’s not just the time. It’s the beautiful moments shared. The slow wake-ups together, the kisses and cuddles in bed… her asking me what the plans are for the day, and me surprising her with promises of babycino café visits or the beach.
It’s all the little moments. It’s not even anything momentous or eventful. It’s the everyday occurrences, which will be replaced by routine, and order, and responsibility…
And she will be exposed to people, environments, and things that I can not control.
It scares me.
I am excited by what is to come for her, for us… really I am.
But I am so afraid, that the innocence in her that I have loved, and nurtured, and seen thrive… will be lost.
Will she change? Will she be the same?
What will this new life stage bring?
So much happiness has come before us, and I am terrified it will end.
Friendships might change her.
Harsh truths will be learnt.
Tears will be shed.
And I am freaking out about it all.
I don’t even know how this is a gratitude post, other than to say this day before prep, was a beautiful one. Telling each other how much we love one another… and now the tears won’t stop rolling, so I think it’s time I go.
me her luck.