I have very strong memories of both of my girls and their first days of kindergarten. Funny, but those two days are some of the most vivid of my motherhood memories. It has been so many years but I can remember helping them find their cubbies and meeting their new teachers. I remember nervously smiling at the other parents and being so worried about how this could possibly work out well. Both of my kids were painfully shy at that age so every Mama Bear instinct wanted to scoop them up and take them home so that they didn’t have to be scared or nervous or talk to any strangers. I can still feel the agony of that moment when the parents were “excused” and having to walk away from that classroom seeing the huge crocodile tears in my babies’ eyes while they bravely listened to their teachers. Deep down, I knew they’d be okay, but that didn’t stop my heart from breaking as I left.
I told Sarah that I didn’t want to write this post. It’s been in my head and my heart for months but I don’t want to be THAT PERSON who doesn’t shut up about the things. But here I am…being THAT PERSON. Because I have to. Because I feel like I can’t move on until I do.
Because this is hard. And I knew that it would be.
I was barely a year older than she is now when she was born. At a time when everything was upside down and pear shaped, she was the only thing that made sense. She came into this world on her own time with her own agenda. She mended hearts and healed old wounds. By some grace of God, I got to be her mom.
As you can imagine, it’s hard to start a family when there are so many odds stacked against you. So young…barely out of high school and the only real plan we had was to survive – one day at a time. We survived and we survived until one day, YEARS later, we had gotten to this place in time where we could live. Where we could make a few plans. Enjoy ourselves a little. Make decisions that weren’t derived from fear and survival.
But the fight never left us.
For most of her and her sister’s life and our marriage, fighting for one another and fighting to keep our family together is all that we’ve known. It’s never been easy. But yeah…cliches be damned, it was always worth it. And I would do it ALL over again.
I’m not exactly sure why I can’t seem to move past this until I tell our story. Maybe if I can somehow help someone (anyone?) understand how hard I had to fight to keep her, that they might get a glimpse into why it’s so fucking hard to let her go.
Or maybe it’s just that I need a little bit more time to work this out.
One month from today, I will find myself being in a similar but oh, so different kindergarten-like situation when I will be “excused” once again. Only this time, I don’t get to go back in a few hours to pick her up after her school day. This time, I’ll be moving her into a dorm to live with people she doesn’t even know. After all that, I’ll have to find some sort of superhuman strength to walk to the car and drive five hours home where I won’t get to see her everyday anymore. And I know this parenting goal is what we’ve been working toward. I KNOW that this is the way it’s supposed to be. But even knowing all this and as excited as I am for this next big adventure, I also know that it’s completely killing me inside and I can’t help it.
**Half of these pictures are taken by Sarah. The other half are clearly NOT taken by Sarah.