The One in Which I CryDawn Meehan
My baby graduated from preschool yesterday. I was so proud because she’s mastered the preschool curriculum of cutting along a squiggly line, writing her name, and making “pizzas” out of clay. She’s brilliant! She knows her colors, shapes, and ABCs. She’s ready for kindergarten. Her mom is not.
I was fine when Austin graduated from preschool. I was fine when Savannah graduated from preschool. I was fine when Jackson, Lexington, and Clayton graduated from preschool. But this one hit me. She’s my baby. She’s the last of my kids to go to preschool. And now she’s a big kid. A sense of sadness hit me, knowing that I’ll never set foot in that preschool again. I’ll never go to another Halloween party there. I’ll never have candy cane punch after doing the S-A-N-T-A dance with my child.
Every milestone Brooklyn has met has hit me hard. The last time I nursed her, the last time I strapped her in her infant car seat, the last time I changed a diaper (well, maybe not so much that one), and the last time she let me pick out her clothes have all left me a little weepy.
As I listened to the kids singing the same graduation songs that all six of my kids have sung, I couldn’t stop the sting of tears. The woman sitting next to me saw me welling up. I stammered, “There’s something in my eye, allergies, my contact, um, there’s something in my eye.” She looked askance at me, but went back to videotaping the program.
I think it hit me even harder because we’re moving far away next month. Not only will Brooklyn not be in preschool next year, but she won’t be with any of the friends she’s made this year. I won’t see any of the same teachers or parents around town. I watched the kids sing, and at some point, the lyrics of their cute little songs about sunshine and rainbows were replaced with, “Is this the little girl I carried?” Tears overflowed and streamed down my cheeks as I heard Tevye sing Sunrise, Sunset. People looked at me like I was insane since the kids were actually singing a song about ice cream sodas and strawberry tarts. Not really the kind of stuff that brings tears to one’s eyes.
People have always told me, “Enjoy this time because it goes by so fast!” I thought I enjoyed my time when my older kids were young, but looking back, I can hardly remember those milestones with them. I can hardly remember when they were babies. (Of course, I can hardly remember what I had for lunch today so that’s not saying too much. I oftentimes worry that I’ll have Alzheimer’s by the time I’m fifty.) Anyway, I’m afraid I spent so much time wrapped up in the moment that I sometimes forgot to step back and just soak it in. And now it’s too late. I can’t go back and relive any events. I can’t rewind the clock and revel in every crazy, messy, frustrating moment.
So, the advice I want to give to all you new moms out there is to enjoy every moment because time goes by so quickly! But I know you’ll all be so wrapped up in the moment that you’ll forget to step back and just enjoy. I don’t think there’s any way to completely avoid that. So, my real-life advice to you is to take a lot of pictures and videotape so you can relive those moments when your memory fails you.
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze
Want to read more from Dawn? Whether you’re thinking about having kids, you’re pregnant now, or you’ve ever been pregnant, you’ll love her popular, You’ll Lose the Baby Weight (and Other Lies About Pregnancy and Childbirth)!