My very first baby went to preschool at the completely amazing, life-changing-for-me public school in our neighborhood. It was a totally normal preschool in that we had to walk our kids into the classroom, sign them in every morning, then sign them out and walk them out every afternoon. This is a horrible, cruel expectation to set for mew mothers, because as sure as hell is hot, come the first day of kindergarten my son wouldn't even let me on the play area where the 'big boys' lined up. We made it all the way to the flag pole out front of the school and then he turned, kissed me, and said "I got it from here, momma."
The distance between those two points was exactly 1,392 miles. (That's 2240.407 km for all you Canadians.)
By first grade, I was allowed to walk him to the end of the street. Our street, not the school's street.
If miles were measured in heartbeats, he rode his little bike to the moon and back every school morning.
My second one entered school and was a little bit more forgiving of my need to, you know, parent him. He'd occasionally let me in the general vicinity of the drop-off area, but only if I remembered who was in charge.
By the time we moved to Canada, they were getting themselves on and off of the city bus every day all by themselves. (*I* can hardly manage the city bus without a Xanax.) These boys forced me to let them go, let them be, let them become. I was helpless against their cute noses and dashing hairdos and squeaky voices asking please mom, please let us push these boundaries and find out what's waiting for us in the world beyond your arms.
I hated every minute of it, and loved every minutes of it. They made me so anxious, so worried, and so. freaking. proud.
Turns out, boys and girls are different. Huh.
My daughter is seven and-almost-a-whole-half-mawm, and every morning I walk hand in hand with her to her bus stop. Together we talk to her friends, sometimes she'll leave to play with them...but she leaves me with her toy or backpack so I don't have to miss her too badly. She kisses me goodbye and waves back to me with every third step towards her bus.
I'm not too proud to admit that I love it. Sometimes we purposely run late so that I can drive her to school, giving us a whole lot of extra seconds together in the mornings.
So today when I told her she was going to have to walk her little self all the way to the bus stop by her own self because I had a conference call that I simply could not miss, she panicked. She panicked almost as much as I did.
She told ne she couldn't do it, because she would end up getting burglarized. I told her she could do it, that all her friends would be walking at the same time, and that as soon as she turned the corner where she wouldn't be able to see me anymore, she'd see them. She told me she didn't care, that she wasn't ready, that she simply could. not. do. this.
And I was fairly uncertain whether I could, either. I mean, it's like a 63-second walk.
Part of me feels totally justified in my overprotection. Jessica Rdigeway was just walking to school like everyone else, too (doesn't help that I used to live in that very neighborhood, no it doesn't.)
But it had to be done, we had to do it, and dammit, we did it. She said she understood why she had to do this, and I said I understood why she didn't want to. I bundled her up, stole all the kisses I'd miss at the bus stop (while on a conference call, i'll have you know, who says mother's can't do it all?) and sent her on her way. I stood on the sidewalk in bare feet and watched her every step until I couldn't see her anymore. She watched me the whole time, too.
It'll all I have to not call the school and just make sure she's there, but she's there, everything is fine. I hate every minute of this again, and love every minute of it again. She makes me so anxious, so worried, and so. freaking. proud.