By: Brandy Black
Day One, Preschool
There are many phases of letting go in parenting and each one I’m convinced has been harder for me than my daughter. Sophia recently started preschool. She was ready. I knew it. I was a little nervous building up to the big first day of school but overall quite relaxed and even envisioned leaving her alone on the first day, after an hour or two. Boy did I fool myself. I had no idea what heartbreak I was in for. Sitting in class with her, feeling the nervous energy of all of the kids and parents (me included), trying to remain calm while realizing that this was a monumental time in our children’s lives. I will never forget that day, anxious and proud as I stared at all of the children’s names written on orange stars sprinkled across the bulletin board. This was her moment, the beginning of many years of education, teachers, lunches, friends, books, backpacks, pencils, folders, binders, experiments, desks, erasers, tests, note-passing, whispering, giggling, tears, gym class, lockers, cubbies, principals. As I sat in class looking around at all the lovely children that she will spend the next few years getting to know, it was a special moment, one to hold sacred in my heart.
But later that day, things became dark and teary. I sobbed over burgers with my wife and daughter as I realized that she had officially joined the “rat race”. She will always live on a schedules, be aware of time, follow the rules, learn what’s right from wrong even if it’s not right, she’ll learn about love and hate, greed and jealousy, pain and suffering, discrimination and that the world can be unkind and unfair. She will race out of the house some days because she has to be somewhere, she’ll rush, she’ll slowly learn to ignore the little things, step on the bugs, sticks will just be sticks -not magic wands and crystals. My tears became heavy as I realized that life was “happening” to her. This little girl that I had spent the last 2.8 years protecting from all that didn’t need to be known yet will now learn from others, some will be better than I, others will be worse. Some will be right, others will be wrong. I know she’s young, I know that all of this won’t happen in preschool but that first day, although sweet, was a huge dose of reality for her mama. Sophia wiped my unexplained tears away and handed me a gummy burger. I looked at her hazel eyes, smiled, and put all my fears aside to eat my meal with my family.