But I am settling in to this new normal with surprisingly few tears. We all are.
He's been in Kinder for all of 9 days so I am obviously a pro at this. Yes, yes, I know that one of these weeks all of this could fall spectacularly apart and send me swan diving into a shame spiral of guilt parenting and frantic over-hugging. But for now, I feel confident. I feel capable. And I am totally kicking ass at being the mom of a Kindergartner and a preschooler. Of course they are the one's kicking ass and that's why I am kicking ass but whatever. We are ALL kicking ass.
In the last 2 weeks we've started Kindergarten and Pre-K in 2 different schools on opposite ends of town. I meal planned and grocery shopped alone. I worked at my part-time job with so much ease it was weird. Pants lost his first tooth and after 2 years of straight-up avoidance parenting, he finally landed back in the dentist chair for a check-up that ended with the Mount Everest of meltdowns but we got through it, man. That oral defensiveness is no joke, my friends. BUT, however hairy, we all lived to fight another day. OH! And this family has never been one to get up and go in the wee hours but, I'll be a monkey's butt, we have been doing exactly that. Go team!
Like I said, though, I am aware that I jinxed myself saying all of this out loud, so when I look back on this time in our lives I really want to remember how this felt. Because I am sure I will need this post as a reference on the night before they graduate high school as I am laying in a puddle on the floor going through baby pictures, blowing my nose and considering adopting a rescue kitten or seven to fill the gaping hole in my heart.
So chin up, Future Me! Here's what I know right now. And I have a feeling this will always apply.
1. He is OK. He gets nervous but he is finding out that he enjoys having his own slice of life. Sure I'm over here watching and coordinating school papers. I'm paying attention to each and every part of this journey for him. But he doesn't need to know all that fine print. He is off on an adventure and he is OK. He really IS OK. OMG! HE'S OK!! Because...
2. He can do hard things. Like stand in line, follow instructions, follow rules and make friends. All of these skills came a bit harder for him but he fought for years with you right there by his side to get to this blissful place where he can. And he does. Like a BOSS. So now it's my job to stand back and let him. Which brings me to...
3. I can do this. I can let him fly. I can loosen my grip and worry less. I can let my actual heart walk away from me and into school each day and then I can get in my car and drive away. When we brought him home from the hospital I was 1000% sure I would never be able to do this. I was awesomely wrong. I can.
4. She is OK. She struts into that school like an iron butterfly with a shy streak. She mostly wants me to know she will miss me. And boy oh boy she cannot know how insanely I miss her. She has reminded me of the baby she once was before she found her voice. Observant, calm, quiet and resolved. She's not yet ready to open ALL the way up to this new environment but I know that she will. When she is ready and has taken in all the things she wants to know first. She's a planner that way and I love that about her.
5. This changes everything and nothing. LIFE! IT CHANGES! Routines change. The time spent right next to each other's skin changes. Bedtime is stricter, meals are timed way better, I am forced to organize and keep all the balls in the air. There are forms and meetings and coordination of who needs to be where and when. The conversations are becoming more interesting. The questions are harder to answer. It's all very crazy. But we know all about crazy and we can handle it. At the end of the day, we are the same family of 4 totally different people who somehow make sense together. The pieces move but the board stays the same.
6. It's OK that I like being a little more free. I find myself driving alone and smiling. A lot. I think about the days when I had no energy to even put on pants for days at a time. I find myself getting up and putting on actual clothes. On most days I am wearing a bra that fits. I no longer feel that choke at the base of my throat when I go out for some me time without my babies. And that is a beautiful thing. Because I haven't lost the smile that spreads across my heart when we are reunited again. I find that taking care of myself and my needs is just SO much easier now. And I like it. I am MOM (!!!) but I am also other things. I can take this time to rediscover some of those parts of me that were buried while I changed diapers, lugged car seats and spent 6 years just being really really tired.
We are all a little bit more free to discover the next story of our lives. And it feels good.
SO IN CONCLUSION ( <-- in my best 6th grade book report voice)
Dear Future Me,
It's ok. These big life shake-ups and changes are wild, sometimes stressful and exciting all at once. And we will meet them as they come with a few tears, love , a little bit of worry and a lotta bit of fierce. The Family Pants knows no other way. So pick yourself up off the floor, Mama Pants and go rescue those kittens. All seven of them. Everything will be alright.