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kindergarten

kindergarten, dropp off,letting go

kindergarten, dropp off,letting go

Kindergarten is Kinda Killing Me

Kindergarten hasn’t gotten any better for me; it’s gotten worse. This morning was the first day that I dropped my five-year-old off at school and didn’t walk her to her kindergarten classroom. I know. She’s been a kindergartner for 8 whole days, as of today. I should be over it. But it’s different letting them walk in by themselves. That’s really letting them go to kindergarten without you. That’s relinquishing control. It’s trusting that they are okay without you, that they will make it safely to class from the drop off point, that they won’t get overwhelmed and reach out for you only for you to not be there. It’s admitting to kindergarten that my baby is now a big kid.

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kindergarten, back-to-school, first day of kindergarten 2012

It’s the night before kindergarten again and I am not ready for this. UGH! I am dreading it now. I’ve been breaking down all day because my dog’s very sick and we’re not sure if she’s going to make it and now, I am sure tomorrow the crying will be of inappropriate proportions. As I sit here typing, the thought of reading that damn book “The Night before kindergarten” has me choking on tears and knowing what the kindergarten hallway looks like, think a mine field with mothers crying like they are Mary and their kindergartener is Christ on the Cross. It’s every thing I can do NOT to turn around and say fuck it. Never mind, I will home-school; thank you very much.

Oh yeah, I fell prey to this menagerie of crying Mommies last year when I had to tiptoe over their strewn carcasses as I made my way to the 1st grade corridor. It was brutal. I was holding it in and squeezing my Bella’s hand to reassure her. Damn the letting go. It hurts so bad. I hate the first day of kindergarten. I’d like to throat punch the first day of kindergarten or maybe even roundhouse kick it in the nuts.

kindergarten, first day of kindergarten, back to school

The First Day of Kindergarten

I started this post yesterday when I was filled with trepidation and bursting at the seams with nauseating nostalgia.  I was up most of the night unable to sleep. Gabs woke me up twice and the dog woke me up about three times. There was not much sleep to be had anyways. This morning I woke the girls up and the Big Guy too. The Big Guy made pancakes while I got the girls dressed, one by one, in a haze of no sleep and a fog of can I really do this? Let my baby start the leaving process. I don’t think I am built to let my children go.

If it were up to me, I would keep them snuggled up in my arms for all eternity. I know it’s crazy. Babies are born to grow up and become adults and go off on their own but why does the letting go have to start just when they are really starting to be interesting? I dressed both girls to perfection in their cute little navy uniforms with the hairstyle of their choice and we were off. Me with the camera on hand and the Big Guy under strict instructions to video tape everything.

As we drove along the same route we have driven so many times before to drop off her sister, I looked to the backseat and saw the baby I loved so much beaming with excitement and fidgeting with nervousness. I pretended not to notice the trepidation. She caught me staring at her and smiled just a little bit bigger. My heart, my mommy heart was starting to quiver. Silently I command myself, “ Don’t ugly cry, lady. You have to wait until you get outside of the building. Never let them see you cry.” Yes, my inner monologue is a pretty bossy bitch.

She has no compassion for me or the first day of kindergarten.

When we arrived at school, she was the first one out of the car. “Mommy, take my picture!” as she posed in front of the welcome sign. I followed silently snapping photos, committing every second of the letting go to memory. Smiling my nervous smile that only my husband recognizes. Gabs and her sister bounced through the hallways, sprinting towards the new year of new experiences; toward growing up. I could feel the pull at my heart as I watched their tiny bodies walking away from me.

After a photo or two beside the “KINDERGARTEN “ sign, it was time to let her go and trust someone else in the world with my most prized possessions; my children. This is the hard part. This is where I swallow hard and hug tight and slowly watch helplessly as I do the right thing and encourage her to go. Oh, how it hurts my heart and stings my eyes. Swallow that lump lady! I swallow so hard that I almost choke on this familiar lump. She runs back for one last hug and whispers, “I love you, Mommy. I’ll be okay.”

I slowly turn and walk away. I sneak one last backward glance she is smiling and coloring with new friends. As I walk away, I can hear her giggle and engage in excited conversation and I remember the words she just spoke to me, “I’ll be okay.”

I know she will. Will I? I didn’t cry, though I really wanted to. I loosen my white knuckled grip on my little girl’s childhood and I look forward to afternoon pick up when I can once again fill my arms with my little girls and my heart can be happy. How did you deal with the first day of school, daycare or kindergarten?

I know eventually this won’t be so hard but today, on the first day of kindergarten, letting go hurts like a motherfucker.

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dog, daughter, kindergarten, back-to-school, first day of school, letting go

The first day of kindergarten and a sick dog. This week is emotionally chaotic. Too much change at once. This week is supposed to be hard. It’s the first week of school for my girls. Gabs is starting kindergarten, so obviously I am all verklempt. I am trying to hold my shit together because there is nothing worse than a 5 year old seeing her Mommy act like she’s sending her baby off to war. Oh, but my mommy heart. It hurts.

dog, daughter, kindergarten, back-to-school, first day of school, letting go

Meet the Kindergarten Teacher Day

I’m trying to be proactive and make it easier. Yesterday, I took her to school to meet the teacher and showed her around the room and the school.  We investigated every nook and cranny of that Kindergarten class. She was a bit overwhelmed but I kept telling her how awesome it was going to be and her big sister was there to reassure her. I just kept swallowing the lump in my throat. Pushing it down, down, down; where it will stay until I am safely outside the building on the first day of school this Thursday. THEN, I will collapse in a heaving, hyperventilating  pool of snot and tears.Yes, my heart is going to break. I know this. I’ve been here before with my first but this is different, this is my last baby.

My sweet little shy girl who embarrasses easily and who wears her heart on her sleeve. But like her sister before her, she will suck it up and make that funny little smile that tells me that she is feeling unsure and a little bit scared inside but she won’t let anyone else know, just her and I, it’s our secret. I’ll want to make it all better but the only way to make it better is to let her experience it and know that it is okay. This is one thing the girls have definitely inherited from me, they need to feel their feelings and survive them to know they can. We are “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger girls” and we are firmly set in our beliefs that, “Failure is not an option” even when it may seem like the only choice there is. We keep on trying. Both my girls are like that; stoic to the bitter end, almost to a fault. I wish she could just cry and get it all out but she’s too much like me. We do cry but first we push stuff down, way down and we carry on no matter how much it eats at us on the inside and necrotizes that spot we push it down to.

But the crap just keeps piling on. The same week that my baby starts kindergarten and my Bella has moved up to 2nd grade, my oldest and furriest girl (our 13 year old boxer, Saffaron) is sick. She’s old and we know that every day is a gift with this girl. Saffaron was the first baby the Big Guy and I had together. We brought her home in September, 4 months after we were married and she has been by our side since. I love this dog like only a Mommy can. My girls adore her. I’ve been trying to explain that sometimes people and animals get REALLY old (I’m trying to convince them that me being 39 is NOT really old) or sick and they go to sleep and then they go to be with God and wait for us. This is what I told them about their baby and now I am telling them this about their dog.

kindergarten, dog, letting go, growing up, getting old

This is how the dog marked meet the kindergarten teacher day

Today, the dog was really not feeling well. She was lying around not moving (she was breathing, I checked) but she just seemed done. Yes, I’ve seen this look before and we had a conversation last year. She owes me 5 more years, because my heart is not ready to say good-bye again so soon. I just had to say good-bye in May and I think there should be at least a year in between good-byes to people and things you love. Last year, she almost died from an acute case of pancreatitis. My grandmother died from pancreatic cancer about a month before my dog was afflicted. No, I am not saying that my Grandma gave my dog pancreatitis but my year in between good-byes rule came to mind this morning.

I grabbed my girls; sleepy (because she’s trying to adjust to the school sleep schedule), nervous (because she has been sporting her nervous “Help me mom” smile since she realized that this was the week she started BIG school) and Grandma Moses (because my once spry puppy is now an elderly 91) and off to the veterinarian hospital we went. As I looked in the rearview, I saw both of my daughters sporting the “Oh Jesus, please don’t today be the day our dog dies!”  TO my right, the dog is giving me the,”Please don’t hit any bumps. Dear Jesus, take me quick!” Me, I am torn. On one selfish hand, I don’t ever want that beautiful bitch to die. I just love her too damn much and our family will be incomplete without her walking around looking at us all like we are all a bunch of assholes before giving us lots of love out of pity for our stupidity. She thinks we are big dumb animals; it’s obvious to us.  But on the other hand, I don’t want her living in pain. Her body is not what it used to be. Her arthritis is awful in the mornings, she’s got glaucoma, and benign tumors pop up all over her body at random times for no apparent reason. She’s tired and I’m pretty sure that soon she will be ready to go and we will have to let her go.

The letting go sucks. I just hope it’s not this week. This week, I have that beautiful and sweet bitch pumped full of antibiotics and pain pills. We are all giving her a little more love and attention than usual. I’m hoping she will grace us with her big heart and floppy ears for at least another year. This week I have to start the letting go of my 5 year old and I just don’t think that my Mommy heart can handle losing my furry daughter. I don’t think any of us can, least of all the 5 year old. Please don’t turn the first week of kindergarten at my house into a country song.

How did you mark the first day of kindergarten?

kindergarten, dog, letting go, back-to-school

Kindergarten has got nothing on this dog

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Kindergarten has been a big step for our Bella and it doesn’t seem that the firsts show any sign of slowing down anytime soon. I have mixed emotions about all of this. For the most part of it, I am very excited for my Bella. Unfortunately, the fact that I left the girls overnight for the first time ever coupled with the fact that she has had about 4 firsts in the past week, add to that me trying to upload photos and stumbling into a folder with photos of my Bella when she was newborn to about 2 years old and on top of that add the Bette Midler song Baby Mine and I am sitting here, alone in the middle of the night, feeling a bit emotional. As always, I share these moments with you, my friends.

Last Tuesday, while we were at ballet class with Gabs, Bella and I were sitting in the car waiting for Gabs to be done. Bella was in the passenger seat spelling out words ( She is getting to be such a big girl) and I am reading. I hear the click clack of her Barbie laptop stop, I glance over and there she is..tying her shoe..all.by.herself! It really felt a lot like those first steps she took when she was about 10 months old. I was so proud. She’s only been shown once. She amazes me. Where did that helpless little baby go? How can I be so happy and so sad simultaneously? Mostly, I was proud. Just ask any of my friends and family…I took a picture of it and mass texted it to them all.

First Shoe Tie 9/21/10

Then on Wednesday, we had our first rehearsal for the Nutcracker. I can’t believe that 3 years have already passed since she first started ballet. She was such a tiny thing when she first began and now she is a snowflake. She looked like such a big girl ballerina in her leotard, tights, and performance bun. I do realize its the same thing she wears to class every single week for class. But something is different, my Bella is different. She is growing up every hour of every single day.Letting go, even a little, hurts a lot but thank God it is dulled by the happiness that she shows on her face when she accomplishes something that she has set her mind to. It amazes me what a strong characterful little person she is at such a young age.

First Nutcracker Rehearsal for the Snowflakes 9/22/10. This is the photo that broke the Big Guys heart because he had to miss this moment.

Then on Thursday, she came home with 2 declarations. The first one was “Mommy, I was chosen as one of the stars of the day.” Me: “Great,baby!I’m so proud of you!” Bella: ( a little bashful) “Umm, Mommy, the star of the day gets a piece of bubblegum.” And with that she pulls a little baggy from behind her back, with one little red gumball in it. She is smiling so big that I can hardly stand it. Me;”Bella, you know you are too young for gum.” Who the hell gives gum to kindergartners? This is the same teacher who is so strict about no unhealthy snacks.Yeah, OK. I am watching as Bella’s face is losing its smile. Bella: “But Mommy, the other stars got one too!” How could I deny her her reward that she was so obviously proud to have been chosen to receive. I told her that we would split it, and she could chew it for 5 minutes in my eyesight, but from now on she would have to put them in a Ziploc, put them in the freezer and save them until she’s 8! I know, very random solution but it satisfied her for the moment. I’m not a fan of gum for kids…bad for teeth, choking hazard, etc.

The next declaration was a little more substantial, thank goodness we had spat our gum out or I may have swallowed mine. Bella, puts her hand on her hip, has a very nervous look on her face and says,”Mommy,I’ve got to tell you something” Me: “Yes, Bella, what do you need to tell me?” Bella: “Mommy, I like Bill* (*names have been changed to protect the innocent) and Bill likes me!” She’s blushing, so I am pretty sure I know what that means. But I don’t want to embarrass her. I want her to be able to tell me anything.But, I had to know,”Bella, do you mean like a boyfriend?” Bella: (blushing and giggling and averting eye contact) “No, Mommy..like he’s my best friend!” I heard what she said, but I also saw what her face said, that little face that I have read every single day for the past 5 and a half years..her little heart is happy. She has her first crush.

Today, as I was waiting for Bella to come out of class ( she is one of only 4 half day kindergartners) and so is Bill*. Bill’s mother sits down next to me and says, “I was told to be here early , I have been given strict orders to find out from you when the Nutcracker performances are because Bill* said he has to go see Bella in the Nutcracker.” We both giggled, because its obviously the sweetest thing either of us have ever heard…ever. But, oh my God, I won’t lie it choked me up just a bit. As we’re pulling out, Bella and Gabs are gleefully screaming “Bye, Bill!” And the cutest little boy ever waves them both on. In the car ride home, Bella informs me that I must talk to his mother about setting up a play date with Bill*. She continues on and tells me that the two of them were talking about it. She told him he could come over and play dress up with her. She told him he could be a fairy. He said,”Nah, I have a cape with jewels on it. I can be the prince and you can be my princess!” Priceless. do you hear that “Awwwww” in your head too? Or is it just me? It also makes me wonder, am I scheduling a play date or just a date?

This, of course, catapults me about 20 years into the future and I can already feel myself losing that helpless little baby I met on the day she was born to the man of her dreams on her wedding day. I am now more convinced than ever that parenthood is misery peppered with moments of profound bliss. God has given us these little people that steal our hearts, our minds, and our bodies and then in the end they leave us alone to miss them. Now, I understand why grandchildren are so important..its a way for parents to have a little part of their children back. Its probably also why grand kids can get away with so much. Parents have already felt the loss of their children growing up and leaving and have a new barometer of what is acceptable behavior and what is not. To be able to hold your children in that moment when they are little perpetually would be worth almost any price to have again, once they are grown. For now, I am going to cherish every single first, smile, giggle, even the tantrums and heartbreak because this time passes too quickly. Baby of Mine!

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This morning,we awoke to  a dreary morning.These are the hardest to get the girls our of bed. I decided to get the morning started off on the right foot. I cranked up the i tunes and we had a early morning dance party to Liztomania. I know, not conventional but it got the girls up and moving and in a good mood. The rest of the morning went relatively smoothly.

We even arrived at drop off a few minutes early and Bella wanted to wait for her new friend. Yes, after all the drama of ‘feeling left out’ she has finally made a “best friend” in class. She has loads of friends outside of school but we all know how imperative it is to have at least one at the place we spend everyday.It’s been great. She has someone to play with and talk to, stand in the morning line with. They see each other at mass and they walk, arm in arm down to children’s liturgy. This friendship has been a source of heart happiness all around.Bella is actually looking forward to getting to school. ever morning.

But this morning, things went horribly wrong. In reality , it was not a big deal but through the eyes of a five year old, it was pretty monumental. As I said, we were specifically waiting for this little girl. Bella refused to get in line, lest she end up stuck by someone other than her bestie. Her excitement was palpable. So, there we stood and then..she arrived. Bella’s little face lit up like a Christmas tree. I was wearing what could only be described as a cat that ate the canary grin , myself. How could I not be, Bella was so happy.

I watched the little girl approaching and she had that  running late/woke up late/ pissed at the world look on her face. As an adult, I knew that  these were the tell tale signs of a bad mood. But before I could stop the train wreck.. it happened. Bella made a b line for the little girl and when she ran up in line next to the little girl, still smiling and excited, her excited chatter was greeted by what I refer to as the,  “Why the hell are you speaking to me” blank expression.You know the one, we’ve all seen it once or twice in our lifetime. That look that makes you feel about 2 inches tall; simultaneously breaking your heart and making you feel stupid in the same moment.

I watched as all the color drained from Bella’s face and I could virtually see her heart sink and her stomach knot. She became silent, and she looked at me. her eyes nervously  darted towards me and cried out ” What’s going on?Why is my friend being mean to me?” I saw her eyes welling with tears. In my head, I was willing her not to cry. She held my gaze with a nervous smile.I had to swallow a huge lump in my throat because while I understood that this little girl was just having a bad morning, Bella did not .All that she knew was that her best friend wouldn’t talk to her.

Of course, I came over and gave Bella a hug and kiss in line and told her that I loved her. I also told her to not worry about it, maybe the little girl was just having a hard time waking up. Then I walked to the back of the line to wait for Bella to go into the building. She held my gaze, as if it were my hand and I was giving her strength. The bell rang and as she walked away, I saw her head drop a little. My heart was breaking for her.

Her class is in the basement and from the drop off, you can see her classroom. I never linger and watch her come into class but she looked so deflated and defeated that I could not, in good conscience,  leave without knowing she was OK. I watched as she came into class and made yet another failed attempt at talking to her friend. My heart broke a little more. Then she continued to follow the little girl around the room. She was determined. Then they sat down and I realized the connection, their best friend status stems from seating geography; probably nothing else. Finally, she looked up and her sister and I smiled and waved. Then we exchanged air kisses. I gave her the thumbs up and she smiled. Then the little girl caught sight of us and I smiled and gave her a thumbs up too. Next, both girls were waving their arms wildly, smiling and giggling with one another as they shared this moment of Gabs and I standing outside smiling at them. I left and I felt that maybe I had righted the injustice. At least they were talking.

I know that I can’t live my daughters lives for them. But as their mother, I want to shield them from all the unnecessary hurt in the world. I think that is pretty common for us Mommies. I walked to my car and I almost lost it because I’m not sure what hurt or happiness the day holds for Bella and worse, I have no control over it. You know, I can take anything the world wants to throw at me but I become extremely fragile when it comes to my girls. My heart is worn like an exposed nerve when it comes to them. I realize that these incidents are part of growing up and any hurt feelings are just casualties of getting to that bigger part of their life. But all I want to do is wrap her tightly in my arms and shield her from all the injustices and hurt in the world. When it comes to my love for my girls there is no reason, no boundaries, no diplomacy…just love.

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It’s Thursday and that can only mean one thing…THROAT PUNCH THURSDAY! Life has been a little more chaotic than usual around here with the beginning of kindergarten. I have my 5 year old trying to feel her way around and get acclimated. She’s been feeling left out and overwhelmed  at school and I’ve been paying the price. Meanwhile, little sister is ducking to try and stay out of the way of flying tantrums, plus she is not without her own coping mechanisms.To say I have had my hands full is a grand understatement. Imagine my frustration when my 5 year old comes home and nonchalantly drops this bomb on me, “Mommy, my capris are not uniform dress code.” Me: “What? What are you talking about honey? I read the list , they are fine.” Bella:”No Mommy, in class the teacher made me and another kid stand up in front of the class and she said “THIS” is not dress code.” Me:(in my head) WTF????? Did she just say she was on her kindergarten class version of what not to wear? You know the show where you are tried and convicted of fashion crimes? I calmed myself and thought, Breathe Debi.Wait for the note about the capris that will surely be sent home if they are not dress code appropriate. But that note never came. Shouldn’t there be a note? I mean if it is serious enough to point it out to the entire class, doesn’t it at least warrant a note? Or what, is my daughter supposed to wear them again and have a recurring role on What not to wear?
I emailed the culprit of such a heinous crime. I am waiting to hear her side before passing my final judgment. But in my mind, until I hear further, this is complete bullshit. My girl is already overwhelmed and feeling distraught about kindergarten, how the eff can theoretically pointing to her and laughing possibly make that situation better? I am pretty much pissed off to the extreme. It’s hard enough letting go. Add to that the fact that now I don’t feel like she is in capable hands and its that much harder. I met the transgressor, she seemed very nice and has been doing this for 15-20 years. This is no rookie. I don’t let anyone, not ANY ONE, mistreat my child or make them feel like less than they are. I will go to blows with anyone who tries. Thats pretty normal right? I mean isn’t that my job? Protector of the universe and defender of my children? I’m hoping something got lost in translation. I am fully aware that quite frequently 5 year olds tend to turn a simple notice into a meandering game of Chinese telephone. If I’m wrong in what I think has transpired, I am not to proud to apologize. But if a transgression has transpired, the offender has been put on notice. She now knows that my girl has an advocate who is paying attention.
Theoretical Throat Punch is most definitely being awarded to the person who did not use her common sense. You can’t use someone’s child as your own personal bad example…next time keep your thoughts to yourself and send me a damn note.I mean, what the hell can my kid do about it? She’s 5, she doesn’t dress herself. How in hell is my girl ever supposed to feel at ease if she is being called out for a damn button on her capris? Seriously, its not even a violation of dress code and if it were, it should have never have been pointed out to her in front of the entire rest of the class. Only my good sense and a Godly heart have convinced me to give her the benefit of the doubt.That same benefit is saving people from a literal throat punch.As a side note, just one more piece of ammunition for my girl to add to her arsenal of reasons why Kindergarten is suck! Come on people, you are not making it easy for me to convince little people that good things are waiting at school. Seriously. WTF?

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I pick Bella up from school today.It’s Thursday, you know, the day before Friday.The day by which the kids are exhausted from a week of no naps,its been Bella’s first week of walking through the big doors and down to class all by herself,  and we’re still ,apparently, having issues with her feeling “left out” because kindergartners are still trying to get their bearings.
At pick up, I was talking to one of the other half day Moms about setting a play date.Gabs had fallen asleep on the way and was pretty much out of sorts. Bella mosies up to us and instead of her normal reception of a flurry of kisses from me and Gabs running into her arms down the hallway all movie style like, she had to walk to us because , as I mentioned, Gabs was half asleep and I was in mid sentence.No big deal, right?
Wrong! So wrong. We get into the car and immediately I see the sour puss in the back seat. “What’s wrong Bella?”Bella:”Nothing!” You know the nothing that most certainly means something, if not everything. Then she tells me, ” Mommy, no one would play with me at recess!” Me: (I’m more than a little frustrated with the situation because this is like the third time in 2 weeks)”Who did you ask?” Bella:”EVERYBODY!!!” Me:”What did they say?”
Bella:”They said they were already playing with somebody and to ask someone else” At this point, I am detecting some very distinct disdain.She continues on hurt and mad; pretty much more upset and pissed off than I have ever seen her. I feel horrible for her. I mean, nobody wants to see their baby have hurt feelings.
We get home. I am really concerned at this point. She is to the point of tears and she is literally fuming. I am pretty sure that at one point I saw smoke emanating from her tiny little ears. She is pacing the house and crying in frustration. She looked like she felt like I did when her sister had colic and I was walking my ass off just to soothe her. You know that at your wits end look? Breaking down ,can’t take the humanity anymore look? Yeah,that one.
I keep trying to inquire. She keeps shutting me down. I heard something about wanting to punch someone and feeling left out.Oh and she shouted that she hated school.Not what you want to hear from your kindergartner on her 3rd week.By this point, I am frustrated because her reaction seems out of whack with her personality. So, I question some more. What did they say? Did someone touch you? Did someone hurt you? Who said what? But she is just getting more and more angry.My heart is breaking. I feel totally helpless, but know that there is no way I am letting my baby go to school just to feel belittled and left out. So, I email the teacher to see if she could help me out. I just need a person on the inside who is aware of the situation.I can’t stand idly by as my child is being broken down. The teacher emailed me back post haste assuring me that she would address the situation and that it is very common but has not noticed an issue with Bella . But she said she was going to look into it none the less. Thank God. But it wasn’t helping me ease Bella’s hurt..right now. So, I kept trying to talk to her and she was literally mad at me. Her hurt was turning into anger towards me, probably for making her go there in the first place.Finally, an hour later, she tells me that what really upset her was the fact that I did not kiss and hug her immediately when I saw her. She said she felt like I didn’t miss her. Apparently, the kids not playing with her hurt her feelings but the Mommy not covering her in kisses immediately upon seeing her was too much. I was the straw that broke the camels back today.Then, we both ugly cried..really hard for about 3 minutes, and then she took my face in her little hands and said “its OK Mommy. I know you didn’t mean it.” And I cried a little more and told her that she has to tell me these things because I would NEVER want to be the source of her pain. Then the two of us, looking like two matching red spotted leopards hugged and kissed it out, with Gabs , of course.Instantly, she forgave me and I will NEVER not kiss her and hug her the moment I see her for the rest of my life..even if I am talking to the president of the United States, the Pope, or  Alexander Skarsgard, Sorry boys, my Bella needs to know her Mommy loves her!

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Every morning, I keep seeing the Mommies attached to their hysterical children, clinging to their legs/waists for dear life and sobbing uncontrollably.And every morning, I thank God that Bella isn’t doing that. Mostly because I couldn’t handle it. I just can’t imagine how that would wear on your heartstrings, day after day, watching as your child baby is overcome with fear and anxiety at leaving the safety and love of their Mommies arms. I do realize that if Bella were doing this, you could find me every single morning after drop off, emotionally crumpled in a puddle of tears and snot. It would be awful for both of us. I mean I am, after all, the Mommy who laid in labor with her second child, crying at a cell phone photo of her first born, because I felt so sorry for abandoning her to go to the hospital and give birth. Yeah, the apron strings are pretty taut between me and my Bella. But I loosen them as needed, for her sake. I am mature enough to know that I have to let her grow up, no matter how much I may not like the idea.Then Monday came.

There was absolutely nothing special per se about Monday, at least not noticeable to the untrained eye. The only thing that was different, was that the Big Guy had gone back to Iowa on Sunday night. You know to his hole that he lives in for work during the weekdays.Sunday’s are always hard on all of us but I had totally forgot about this Monday.I have noticed over the years that though I may be Bella’s “Best Friend” ( as she lovingly refers to me), Daddy has always been her rock. There is just something about a 6’5″ man, with a big strong body and an equally as big heart, that makes a girl feel safe and makes it easy to draw strength from. That is the Big Guy. Monday morning we followed the same routine that we had on Thursday and Friday; the absolute only thing missing was her Daddy. There were no tears from my Bella amidst the plethora of tears falling that morning amongst her classmates. I assumed all was fine.

When Gabs and I picked Bella up from school that afternoon, she seemed a little rattled as if something were missing. In retrospect, she was looking for the Big Guy. We drove home, as she rattled off the days events at a furied pace. We got home and things started going south. She proclaimed, almost angrily, that she didn’t like her outfit and promptly discarded it onto the floor. I was a little annoyed and quite confused by her behavior. I asked her to pick up her clothes; she responded with whining. I asked her close the front door; she responded with tears. I asked her what she wanted for lunch; she barked a hostile “NOTHING!” at me. The responses were becoming increasingly inappropriate to, what I thought was, seemingly innocuous requests. It was quickly a train wreck speeding out of control from bad to worse. Then Gabs had the audacity to ask her how school was; then the sobbing began.A fly landed on her and all hell broke lose! I was baffled. Is a 5 year old supposed to get PMS?

Concern trumped annoyance and I asked, in every possible way, what was wrong. After an eternity of sobbing and undecipherable blubbering, once she hit the point f hyperventilation from hard and ugly  crying, she had Gabs joining in  on the hysteria. I was a hair away from breaking down myself. Then she leans in and wraps her little arms around me, hugging me tighter than she has in a LONG time ( tighter than all those aforementioned Kindergartners holding on for dear life to their Mommies) and whispers this through her sobs (in her little baby kitty sounding voice) “Mommy, I don’t want to go to school. I just want to stay home with you and Gabs!I only love Mommy!” How could I not feel my insides turn to goo and my heart start to fall apart?

I held back my own tears,even though I wanted to curl up into a crumpled mess of snot and tears on the floor. It made me realize how hard all of this Daddy being out of town business has been on the girls. Sure its been difficult on the Big Guy and I but we are adults, most of the time. She misses her Rock and the collateral damage was a small nervous breakdown. I held her tight for almost forever and then a little longer and told her how we were so proud of her for being so brave and going to school. I told her how much we loved her, about all the exciting things she will do, the friends she will make and that Daddy wished he could be here with her. Then I told her, whenever she felt sad and missed us,to close her eyes and think of us and we would be at home thinking of her at the same time, because we are always thinking about her. We ended it with a nose kiss, a group hug, and a promise to walk her into class the next morning.

She called her Daddy in Iowa and he assured her that he was so proud of her, loved her more than life itself, and that he was thinking of her always. She seemed to take comfort in this.Apparently, everything sounds better coming out of his mouth. He also told her that we would send a photo to school in her backpack of all of us together. She hung up the phone, renewed and relaxed. Her entire body unclenched. Daddy the superhero. In the end, she felt better; we felt worse about the letting go. She grew up and we broke down. The letting go is the hardest part of growing up.

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So, tomorrow my Bella starts the big K (DUMDUMDUMDDUMDUUUUUM) Kindergarten! I knew I might be emotional tomorrow, and I still suspect am positive that I will be. I assumed that it was going to be like last year, Gabs would have the break down which would trickle down unto me causing me in the end..to weep sob uncontrollably in the shelter of my SUV. That’s probably still going to happen. I called in reinforcements. The Big Guy is coming home a day early to hold my hand as I let go of my Bella’s. ( Oh shit, I think I am going to tear up just writing this. What a hot mess I will be tomorrow morning).Everything is ready. Bags are packed, papers signed, snack ready, clothes laid out; commence the letting go ( Oh how I hate the letting go).
But tonight, surprise, I was hit with a little ninja style, around the back of the head when your not looking emotional kick. It sorta reminds me of the morning that I was about to marry the Big Guy. I was fine; excited, in the moment about to marry the BIG GUY / the man of my dreams (Squeal) then it happened. As I was getting dressed,  I slyly looked out the window of the rectory and spied my betrothed,there in the church garden, smiling the biggest and happiest smile I had ever seen and taking his photos with the groomsmen. I slowly & silently pulled back from the window and it hit me like a 20 ton pile of bricks, ” You are about to be this mans wife…FOREVER!” It wasn’t just the enormity of the life altering event at hand, it was the realization that I had not a clue what it all had meant until that moment in the window. The weight of my life changing forever, even for the best it could ever be, was in fact still a humongous change. It was the symbol of who I was dying and metamorphosing into who I was becoming. It was HUGE! I was rattled, right there in my bright white wedding gown; completely disarmed by the man I love’s smile.
Tonight, as I was in my routine, getting the girls ready for bed. I was lying in bed snuggled up with my Bella reading her The Night before Kindergarten and before I knew it, another damn 20 ton pile of bricks fell on me. The enormity of my baby starting Kindergarten. This is life changing for all of us but most of all for her. For me, it is the first of many, many, many lettings go ( total SUCK for me) but for her it is the beginning for so many opportunities. It truly is the first day of the rest of her life. I am so excited for her and I want to let her know that it is OK to be frightened but excited because that is what all the good  great things in life feel like. It breaks my heart a tiny bit that she is becoming so independent and growing up so fast but I am so thankful that for a little while I got to be the center of her world. She will always be the center of mine. Happy first day of Kindergarten,Bella! Mommy loves  you and is so proud of you!

I’ll let you know tomorrow how well I actually held up! Happy Mothering!

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There is officially 14 days until the first day of kindergarten for my oldest, Bella. I knew it was coming… but I forgot how quickly. I don’t know why I was surprised their entire lives thus far have been a wonderful and crazy whirlwind. I’m just along for the ride and hanging on for dear life most days but enjoying every single second of it.I was so wrapped up in prepping her for the actual education that she needed before entering school that I never took into consideration what I was going to feel like when the time actually came to let her go to that first day of school. Not that that’s what is important ( well, it is a little to me..hell, a lot).

My 2 little Goofballs! God how I Love ’em!

Anyways, I was picking up some uniforms for her and she had to try them on. My daughters have their Daddy’s height and its legs for days, so to be safe we must try everything on. After all, I can’t send her to her first day at Catholic school looking like a little tartlet. She’s trying on the uniforms in the changing  room. We are all crammed into one of those family changing rooms. You know the ones.As her goof ball little sister, runs around screaming at the very top of her lungs in the highest, most annoying little chipmunk voice you’ve ever heard pass human lips: “Mommy, it stinks. Somebody Faaaahhhhted!” I’m trying to get her to lower it all down an octave( or three) totally engrossed in trying to put out the Gabi fire of 2010.

Meanwhile, Bella ( ever turning into such a big and independent little girl) gets her outfit on and calls out to me, in her still very heavily babified voice(my bestie calls them her 2 little kitties ( meow, meow, meow, meow, meow) “How does this look Mommy?” As I raise my head up to look at her, my eyes meet hers, she is completing a spin ( ever the spinning ballerina) and then it hit me. Right there. Like a ton of bricks….My baby is starting kindergarten in less than a month. I was a little in shock, and a little bit teary eyed, a little bit proud, and a lot sad. It feels like the beginning of the end….of her childhood. What a place to have an A-HA moment. Now, I am in a mad dash to enjoy every single day left with my babies before school starts. I just want to linger here in preschool/toddler land for a bit more and soak it all up ,like the last glimpses of the summer sun.

I am so dreading the first day, like most of you can imagine.

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