Kentucky Mom to Twins and More

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

On the eve of first grade: Letting the butterflies go

It's the night before first grade. Our baby heads to first grade tomorrow. Not really 'our' baby anymore I guess, but 'my' baby. Because it's just me now. I'm the keeper of the milestones from here on out.

And even though her siblings are off to sixth and third grades this year, there's something about the babymy babyheading off to first grade that's kind of killing me tonight.
I've said it before. I've got a love-hate relationship with Back to School, so I'm actually ready to kick them out of the house. But another part of me is grasping, holding onto them so tightly, wishing they didn't have to keep growing up. I'm wishing these milestones would slow down or stop. Because they are all milestones experienced without him.

This is just one of the many life events he's missing out on.

The night before first grade was certainly a frazzled one, trying on uniforms, packing backpacks with crayons, glue and Clorox wipes, and trying to make it to bed on time. This baby of mine was cranky, she was whiny and had no desire in the morning to meet a new teacher in a new class with new faces. Tonight was quite different than the previous nightour last "non school" night of the summerwhen she spent the day at her brother's soccer practice, sweaty and chasing after what she thought was a Monarch butterfly (I didn't have the heart to tell her it was a moth) and once she finally caught it in her little hands, she didn't want to let it go. She begged for me to put it in an empty water bottle to keep in her room. After that thing was being suffocated for half an hour, I yelled from the bleachers for her to set that ever-lovin' (butterfly) free or else.

The night before first grade, she didn't want to wear her pajamas. She insisted on wearing a dirty shirt she's had on for two days despite my pleading for clean jammies. So she went to bed with her "My Daddy Rocks" T-shirt. She clung to a wrinkled picture of her daddy holding her, just as she has for months now at bedtime. She begged for stories and for me to stay longer in her room. I don't know how or why I chose a book from the shelf about Winnie the Pooh, but it was surprisingly appropriate because his friend, Christopher Robin, was going off to school. Christopher Robin told Pooh to feel stronger, braver and smarter than he thinks he is. He told Pooh that "even if we're apart, I'll always be with you."

I told her we can remember that tomorrow, that even if we don't see daddy here, we know he will always be with us. Somewhere he sees us. He knows tomorrow is a big day for a new first-grader (and a sixth-grader and two third-graders).

The night before first grade, just before I turned out the lights in the bedroom of my babyour babyI noticed her dirty T-shirt had a butterfly on it. In a message I now hear loud and clear, I realize I'm going to have to keep setting these ever-lovin' children free. One milestone at a time.

I know too, even though he's not here, he'll always be with me.

This post was also published Aug. 16 here at the Today Parents forum.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

This is six.

My youngest just turned 6.

She was the child who was never meant to be after doctors said she probably never could be. She certainly wasn't planned. She was supposed to be the boy her brother was hoping for. She helped mend a broken marriage that needed her. She was the missing piece in a now puzzle of four kids.
She made us a family of six - until we weren't anymore. She was the last bit of legacy created with a man taken too soon from me. 

I am trying to heed the warnings of those seasoned moms who keep telling me, "enjoy it, it goes fast." So I look at her, watch her play and most days find myself squeezing her so tightly she can't wriggle free. I'm trying to keep her this way. I'm begging time to let 6 stay just a little bit longer.

Because 6 is letting mommy hold you on her lap even though you are getting too big.
6 is dragging Corduroy the teddy bear around everywhere you go.

6 is giggles.
6 is delighting in notes from the Tooth Fairy.
6 is believing in so much beauty and loveliness in the world.
6 is worried about ghosts and hides her eyes under blankets at the scary parts.
6 is happy with Goldfish snacks and peanut butter sandwiches.
6 is writing your Js backwards

6 can be whiny.
6 can be endless chatter.

6 is laying in the grass seeing shapes in the clouds.
6 isn't grossed out picking up roly poly bugs.
6 is sleeping with pink dollie every night.
6 is innocent bliss.

But no matter how tightly you hold, 6 will never stay.

This blog was originally posted Aug. 7, 2018 here at Her View From Home.