With her third birthday comfortably behind us, my thoughts have turned toward preschool, which the little one starts in just over a month. When she was born, this day seemed eons away. In fact, it seemed so much a part of the distant, hazy future, that even when I was looking around the area for preschools last fall, I still didn't truly wrap my head around the idea that she'd ever really go to school. Without me.
Here we are, the last four weeks of her Life Before School and I find myself quietly panicking about every potential pitfall her three-mornings-a-week schedule presents. What if she skins her knee? What if she gets frustrated and starts to cry? What if she pees her pants? Surely, the depth of my anxiety is indicative of the fact that she is my first and only child. (And of my own anxious nature, probably.) But seriously. How do I just send her off into the world? She's only three!
But what's really got me worried is that she is just about the gentlest child I've ever met. She's kind. She's sweet. She's polite. She shares. I'm afraid that the other kids are going to walk all over her like so much rubber playground turf. The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune start flying pretty early. Kids can be mean. Teachers don't really have eyes in the backs of their heads. I'm afraid she might get caught in the line of fire.
So then my mind starts running with this apocalyptic preschool scenario and I'm wondering: Am I starting her too early? Should I home school? Perhaps I need to contact the Obama administration about beginning a program to colonize the moon?
I'm not fooling myself. This isn't really about her; it's about me. I've been working on striking the right balance as a Mama for a while now. And as much as I worry about whether or not she'll cry that first day (or week or month) that school starts, I know that I will.
Someone said that having a child is like letting your heart walk around outside your body. Whoever said that sent a kid to preschool.
My heart is currently running around the house wearing her new back pack ("for school") and her new pink tutu. And despite my fears, she looks ready to conquer the world, armed with love and kindness and dressed in pink crinoline. She will do this. And gracefully. I hope I can follow her example.