I love my sons. More than anything is this world. They bring me more joy than I ever thought possible. But it was different when they started school. When they started school, I was a working mom. I went back to work when David was 11 months old and Daniel was only 6 weeks old. I was used to being away from them during the day. It wasn't easy leaving those sweet little faces at school the first couple of days, but I did it, and with a minimum of tears. All they knew were days spent in the company of other kids, so while it was a bit different having actual teachers and set times to use the potty, they both slid right into school with a minimum amount of diffculty (for both the boys and for me!)
Fast forward to now. My baby girl has started school. She is my best friend, giver of the best hugs and kisses imaginable, the light of my life and the reason I have gotten out of the bed in the mornings for the past four and a half years (well, ok, one of the reasons...I also had to get Daddy Chickens up and off to work, brothers up, dressed, and fed, bookbags packed and take them to school, but you get the picture.) Now, do I love Hannah more than the boys? Not at all. But it's different. I don't know if it's because she's a girl, or if it's because I was blessed to be able to stay at home with her, but all I know is that she is gone to school and I am lost. Utterly and completely lost. I dropped her off 63 minutes ago. Which means just 347 minutes until I get to pick her up.
Is it terrible to admit that it would be an easier adjustment for me if she had been sad at the prospect of school? If she had shed even one teeny, tiny tear the first day when I had to leave the classroom? If she wanted me to hold her hand and walk her into school every morning, where she would then hug me hard and say "I'm going to miss you, mommy!"? Yes, it is terrible to admit that. Of course I don't want her to be a sad, crying, clingly little girl. But, yes, it would have made me feel a little better. Instead, my daughter went right into class the first day, hung up her bookbag and sat down on the carpet. She grabbed blocks to play with and introduced herself to the kids already playing. After a minute or two, she noticed I was still there and I got one of those "are you still here?!" looks. On the second day, she informed me that "you don't have to walk me in. You can drop me off with the big kids." I informed her that while she was a big kid, I was walking her in because I wanted to, not because she needed me to. And on to today, the third day, where she didn't want to hold my hand as we walked through the parking lot. I took her hand anyway and told her that it made me feel better to hold her hand. I got a huffed out "FINE" and immediately started fast forwarding in my mind to the middle school years. No, my daughter is definitely not sad, crying or clingy. She is a very happy, well-adjusted, friendly little girl. And that's a good thing. A very good thing. And it makes me think that I may have done something right during this four and a half years I was blessed enough to spend at home with her.
Monday, Daddy Chickens took the day off of work to spend with me. We had breakfast, ran some errands and really did everything we could to keep my mind off of the fact that I didn't have my shadow with me. I only broke down once on Monday, and that's when the song "You're Gonna Miss This" by Trace Adkins came on the radio. If you know the song, you know why I lost it. And that 2 minute song sent me into tears that lasted an hour. But then I was okay. Sort of.
Tuesday, I had a meeting and then went to lunch with Daddy Chickens. Then I went to Wal-Mart. By myself. Wow. I realized that I spend a whole lot less money when I don't have little hands adding things to the buggy (or cart, for those that aren't from the South.)
And now today. Here I sit in a big, quiet house. Alone. And I wonder...what now? My mind is running a million different directions coming up with things that I must get done. And it all seems to need to be done today. I know that it's my mind's way of trying to fill the time so that I'm not left sitting here, wishing Hannah would come running through the room in her floppy hat and princess dress for a big hug and a quick "I love you, mommy!"
But sitting here I really have begun to wonder what to do...what's next...what happens now. Every minute of every day has been about Hannah and being her mommy for four and a half (oh-so-short) years. I stopped being "Juli" and became "Hannah's mommy" (and, of course, The Chicken) so long ago. I don't remember what I enjoyed in the Pre-Hannah days or even who I really was then. I didn't lose myself when I had the boys, because I was an adult in an adult world for eight hours every day. Now, though, I sit here and feel as if my purpose in my day-to-day life is gone. And I have to figure out all over again who I am...what I enjoy...and what happens next.
Dramatic? Perhaps to moms who work outside the house. Had I read this when either of my boys started school I would have probably laughed at how ridiculous it sounded. Anyone who has been a stay at home mom and had their baby start school knows what I'm talking about. At least I hope they do and that I'm not completely out of my mind.
One day at a time, right?
So my plan for today: do some laundry...wash some dishes...make up beds...work on the pool...make some PTO related calls...get supper ready to cook tonight.
And count down the remaining 312 minutes until I can pick my baby girl up from school.