I woke up just a tad earlier that day. I did it cause I knew it would be the only chance I could look at my baby girl, sleeping in her bed…just moments before she would enter the world of kindergarten. I know, I know. It’s only kinder, not college, but it was the very “first” of anything that I was actually afraid of.
When Sofia was born…I was elated. She was happy, healthy and I fell completed, and totally in love. I looked forward to every tiny squirm, cry, yawn, coo and smile. I would just stare at her, fascinated that this tiny little person was mine. As she grew, each first more amazing than the last. Her first time sitting, her first words (dada…yup, he loves that fact), crawling, walking, talking….I watched as she became her own little person, but yet she was still my little person. In my head, kindergarten meant I had start letting go. So when I woke her, I tried to hide my sadness. At her first eye flutter that morning, she asked “Am I going to kindergarten today mommy?” I nodded, not quite ready to say the words. A huge grin escaped her sleepy face as she said, “it’s cause I’m a big girl now mommy, I get to go to school!” and she got right up and began getting ready for her big day.
She was basking in excitement, the man trying to keep himself occupied with things like checking her lunch bag and the weather, and me, just watching wondering where the past five years have gone. Then, the sadness set aside for a second and I panicked. What if we hadn’t prepared her for this? What if she’s too young to handle it? What if she’s the kid that gets picked on? What if I spoiled her too much? Not enough? What if.. what if… what if… a flurry of mistakes I made in the past years came soaring back and suddenly, along with the sadness, I wondered if my mistakes in raising her would doom her in school.
As a parent, we all doubt ourselves and we all make mistakes. But, while deep down I knew that, it was just not clicking. As I was getting dressed, I remembered when I had gone on a press trip and seen “The Odd Life of Timothy Green.” I remembered The Greens, and how they panicked about the mistakes they were making…promising they would do better. I then remembered talking to Peter Hedges, the director, and what he felt the film was about…and what he said to us. Parenting is about making mistakes, just making different, better mistakes along the way. It was also about the short time we actually had with our children, and to treasure that time and not waste time worrying. Just like the Greens with Timothy, I realized that as my child was stepping into a new world… everything I taught her, mistakes and all, and in the end, all that would matter is that I loved her and stood by her whenever she needed me.
We grabbed her things, and headed to school. As it turns out… we survived and she loved it. I worried about having to let go, but when she came to me for homework help and then told me about her day, I knew my my little girl was still my baby. We were just turning the page to the next adventure and new memories were just waiting to be made.