We dropped her off together, yesterday, the hubby and I. Neither of us wanted to miss the starting day of first grade. No longer a kindergartener, she told us, "I'm one of the big kids now." She walked up to the gate with confidence, this year. She didn't need her Mama for a shield, and she held my hand with love, and no fear, this year. She went in with a wave, and skipped her way to the middle of the playground, with no need to hang close, this year.
My mind immediately re-wound the film, and started playing my favorite scenes again. Beginning with Kindergarten graduation. Where my little girl marched confidently down the aisle, knowing she had achieved something special. She spent the summer in camp, meeting new friends and learning to navigate the world of one room with kids from five to ten years old. When she complained about one girl being particularly hurtful, and then told me she was her best friend, she matter of factly told me it was because there was a "lack of options." Sometimes you have to learn to take what you can get.
Our first family vacation to a place other than a Disney park took us to a cabin in Georgia for a few days. Playing board games and card games, I pushed the thought away that my girl was getting bigger. Tubing down a river confirmed that she was coming into her own when she almost fell out of her tube and got the sparkle of adventure in her eyes instead of the younger tears.
Shopping for school supplies was a lesson in specific preferences this time, instead of just fulfilling the list. "Not the blue folder, and no thank you on the kid scissors." "Not pink, Mama, it's purple now. I like purple now." When I shopped for her shoes by myself and brought them out of the bag, the "Oh, Mommy, these are so awesome, you're the best" made me secretly do a fist pump and a "yesss!"
So when she called me at the shop when Daddy picked her up yesterday, and was close to tears, I was floored. "Mommy, it was awful, I don't want to go back. First grade is terrible." My heart sank. And my mind started racing. What could have happened? Should I call the teacher? You have to go to school, you have no choice, what am I going to do? We talked for a few minutes, and then I had customers, and had to go. I felt that Mommy guilt come on when I had to hang up with her. She was so ready, and now it was terrible. Dreams dashed. Hopes shattered.
I had a plan. We're in gymnastics now, but we haven't yet gotten the "real" outfit. So I planned to bribe her. It was as easy as that. I would take her shopping after work, and tell her if she would agree to go back to first grade and give it another shot, I would buy her the outfit she's been eyeing. It had to work. It just had to.
When I called on my way home, my hubby immediately said, "you need to talk to your girl." She was crying. Only it wasn't tears of sadness. "I tricked you, Mommy, I tricked you! I love first grade, it was AWESOME!" She was laughing so hard she had to think about breathing. And I could see, even through the phone, those tears that come when she has a really good belly laugh, streaming down her face.
It's going to be one heck of a ride, this year. And I'm already taping in my mind. I want to savor every minute, this year. Enjoying this funny girl that I am just crazy in love with. Holding on to every single second, this year.
Unwrap more gifts with me over at Emily's Chatting at the Sky.