Phaedra starts kindergarten next week. In four days. We’ve been talking about it all year long, all summer long, and now it’s four days away. She’s totally ready for it, my tiny forty-year-old woman. In fact, she’s bored of the subject. We’ve talked it to death, to the point where she has the play-by-play down on what exactly will happen on the first day. Enough already, Mom. I got this. Me, however?
I’m freeeeeeeeeaking out.
It’s not the whole “MY BABY OMFG WAAAAAAAAAH” thing. I went through all that already. I’m ready to admit that my tiny, six pound, twelve ounce baby girl is ready to go to kindergarten. (I guess.) I’m still not mature enough to handle the logistics of school, but that’s besides the point. Ready or not, the State of Michigan would prefer I get my sorry ass out of bed every single day without fail and be sure my child makes it to school.
On top of all that, I feel like I’m in mourning. Phaedra starting kindergarten is the end of an era for our family. For five years, our children belonged to us and us alone. We were beholden to no one. Our kids didn’t necessarily have to be anywhere. If we didn’t want to drop them off with the babysitter, i.e. Grandma, or skip ballet class, no one cared. Even preschool was pretty optional much of the time — I mean, we paid them to let Phaedra come. If she didn’t show up, we were the dummies for wasting our money. Trips and events were planned around our work and class schedules.
But now, for 6 1/2 hours a day, five days a week, Phaedra will officially belong to Washington Elementary School. They will expect her to show up every day, on time. Phaedra now has a schedule that must be considered in our daily plans. I will need to justify her absence or early exit from class. Her teacher will most definitely give me the stink eye when I tell her Phaedra will miss two days of school in a couple of weeks for our family trip to Disney World. Not even a month into the school year, and I’m already not taking this seriously enough.
Kindergarten means giving up a little bit of freedom we always had. It means giving up that tiny shred of baby protection and proximity that I was still holding on to. It all seems terribly grown-up. Our family is evolving from a family of babies to a family with children. And frankly, it is perplexing and frightening all at once.