I dropped my baby off at college today and left. No, I realize it wasn't actual college but it sure felt like it. It might as well have been college. Today is the first day of her days as a big girl. She is no longer my little baby who only goes to "school" for a few hours. No, now she's gone all day. That seems like such a simple sentence, but it's taking a while for it to really sink in. This morning, I helped her get ready and took her to her first day of kindergarten and left. I would have stayed had they let me. Held her hand as we walked right passed all the BIG kids and found some other tiny people that looked lost. We would have found some other little girls that had that same anxious look in her eyes and asked her to play with us. Instead, all I could do was give her a hug, tell her I loved her, and walk away fighting the tears I refused to let fall until I got to the car. All morning I've been running through everything in my head; have we given her enough love that she doesn't need the validation of others? Have we given her enough independence that she feels confident enough to stand on her own two feet? Have we taught her how to reason through new problems so that she can make the right choices? Have we taught her compassion so that she will be able to notice the kids that need a little extra sunshine in their day....and that others will be kind enough to give it back to her? Will she make friends? Will other kids like her?
Peer pressure. You might think I'm silly for worrying about peer pressure at 5, but it starts somewhere. That first day away from mommy and daddy all day...having to make decisions completely on her own. It happens over time, very slowly. Sure, right now it might just be "hey, you shouldn't play with her because she has cooties" but then it's "hey, I don't like her. We should take her book away!" Next thing you know, "here, try this!" I realize that she's not gone for good. I understand that today, when I get off work I will go home and she'll be there. We will talk about her day. She will tell me all the fun new things she did and about all the new kids she played with. We will continue to do this each day. Hopefully, most days will be good. She will have only good stories to tell me. Inevitably, there will be days that aren't as good. She'll come home and tell me about it and we will talk through it: What happened, how she acted, how she felt and what might be done different or the same next time. It gives me comfort to know that while she might be more independent after today, she is never ever alone, and the one thing that we both know how to do well is talk :)