Sunday, August 23, 2015

Mixed Emotions

Last year our school told us they may be going to Full Day Kindergarten this year, but they weren't positive. I watched the school website all summer, and it continued to say Half Day.  Then today, I took in Macie's shot records, because her registration wasn't showing up on line.  And the office staff informed me that it will be FULL DAY! She starts on Monday.

Instantly I started to cry.  The office staff was so excited to give me the "good news". But I was filled with mixed emotions, my body got confused and just began to cry.

(Funny side note: when Macie has to go to the bathroom while we are driving we ask "can you hold it? or do you need to go right now?" She has started to answer "I can hold. I just make the water come out my eyes instead." Then her face gets pink from trying to hold it, and her eyes start to water. "See, I can wait".  That's when we know to pull over ASAP.)

So back to me crying in the school office.  The office staff are practically high fiving me and lifting me up on their shoulders to parade around the playground.

"They learn sooooo much more in full day!"
"She will love it!"
"You are free!"
"You will have 6 hours all to yourself!"
"You are the greatest mom on the entire planet!" (Some of this may be a slight exaggeration, like I said, I was in tears and things became a blur.)

My mind was racing. I loved when my older kids did full day Kindergarten.  When we moved to Las Vegas and I saw how far ahead my kids were at school I knew it was in part due to full day Kindergarten. (In Blake's first grade class they spent the entire year working on the sight words he passed off in Kindergarten.)

I also began thinking about how much Macie HATES going to the store or on errands. How frustrating it was to have to get errands, grocery shopping, and the gym all squeezed in during the two hours that she was at preschool or risk the wrath of Macie.  I felt sad last year that Macie didn't have many friends, and ended up with very few play dates after school. And was often tired of it just being her and me.

Suddenly I wanted to cheer and ride around on the shoulders of the teachers and principal cheering "I AM FREE! I AM FREE!" I was beaming with delight thinking about going to the gym without complaint. Running into the grocery store without a fight. Taking a nap in the afternoon!  Having her be prepared for first grade, like my others. But right when my hand went up for the first fist pump, I felt everything else crash down.

I would be alone.
I felt overwhelmed with regret.  Why didn't we do more art projects when it was just the two of us? Why did I drag her to the store? Did I spend enough time on the trampoline? Did we go on enough walks? I thought I had one more year! I thought I could make up for everything we didn't do this past year.

It's no secret that Macie has a strong personality. She can get upset easily.  And it can be very overwhelming for me.  I am not gonna lie, there have been times I have wished she would be in all day school, just because I couldn't handle one more fight or break down.

But now I wish I could have one more year. Maybe I could get things right.  Maybe I would be more present and take advantage of those last days together.  Two years ago, when Blake started school, I experienced the same type of loss. He has a late July birthday, and everything I read argued that it is better for a boy with a summer birthday to be held back. They would be bigger for sports, more mature and able to learn, the oldest, more confident and the leader instead of the follower. But just a couple weeks before Kindergarten began I felt strongly that I should enroll him, and not hold him back the year. I prayed and prayed, not knowing what to do.  But I was filled with peace and a clear understanding that Blake was ready for Kindergarten and may struggle more with boredom if I hold him back.  I cried then, feeling that I had lost a year with my son. I thought he would go to preschool with his friends, but instead he got on the bus with Riley.  Since then, I have seen how it was the right decision.  School came easy for him, and he had a fabulous Kindergarten teacher that stretched him and challenged him. And he loved it!

So I am no stranger to Kindergarten regret.  I know that this is the moment that all stay at home moms dream of.  All of your kids at school.  A quiet house that you might be able to clean, the chance to take a shower without interruption, the ease of grocery shopping, the chance to go back to work, the chance to volunteer more at school. It seems like there are so many things to be excited for. But right now, I am just feeling the loss.  Loss of time with my youngest.  Loss of a shopping partner (however unhappy she was) even the loss of my little friend and tag-a-long. At least in Washington, I would have still gone to Taco Time Tuesday and been able to spend some kid free time with friends taking walks around the pond, or at Ashlee's lake. But it is a whole different story here in Vegas.

If you see me on Monday, giving the Principal a hug, dancing around the playground, making "neener neener" faces at all of the moms with toddlers, and chanting "I AM FREE!" all the way to Starbucks, you can know that on the inside I am crying and planning on drowning my mixed emotions in a venti green tea lemonade.

Seriously going to miss that face!

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