My alarm clock has been going off at 6 am every morning now.
A new schedule has taken over our home.
Rising early, packing lunches, making breakfast and pulling the girls out of bed.
And I’m not sure how I feel about it.
This whole idea of driving them to school, walking them to their classrooms, leaving them for seven hours – I know it’s good for them, it’s good for me yet it’s hard.
Week two is coming to a close and there is still that anxiety and that fear and a lot of “I don’t want to go” and “I don’t want to be here.”
Both are struggling with this new change and I’m struggling too.
My oldest cries into her hands as we get into the car because she is terrified of learning math.
My youngest clings to me as I try to leave, begging to be four years old again because being little feels safer.
And I wipe their tears away and tell them it’s going to be okay and that learning is necessary and growing up is a part of life and Jesus is always with them.
But what I really want to do is throw out their backpacks, grab them by the hand and run.
I want to run to the beach, I want to forget about all this stuff, I want to freeze time and just build castles in the sand and have them stay small forever and ever.
. . . . . . . .
A little while ago my husband came home and told me how a long hug every single day not only does wonders for the soul but is also really good for your health.
It relieves stress, restores the mind, encourages the heart and soothes the nerves.
“I heard it on the radio,” he says and pulls me in a for a solid, thirty second squeeze and I laugh, inhale his soft cotton shirt and feel the weight of that day fall right off me.
Then during my drive to a prenatal appointment, a Christian station starts a discussion by asking parents how they wake up their children for school.
“What is your routine? How do you start that very first part of the morning?”
And I immediately think about the mistake I don’t want to make.
The mistake of hurrying, rushing – the whole go-go-go, we gotta go, we are running late.
It’s vicious and it’s ugly and it wounds the spirit and I’ve been guilty of it more times than I can count.
So when the sun begins to filter in through the blinds, I zip up the lunch boxes, shuffle my feet to the girls’ room and tell myself to start this most fragile nugget of the day with a lot of snuggling.
It’s so quiet and they look so lovely and I don’t want to wake them up.
But I know I have to.
I gently nudge and pull on the covers.
I lift each one right into my arms.
I hold them real tight for a few minutes.
I whisper good morning, I rub their back and kiss their sweet face.
And I see how it sets the tone, how a sliver of affection enables them to get out of bed.
. . . . . . . .
The due date is looming around the corner and even though I thought I’d have this baby by now, I’m still pregnant and very much relieved.
It has given me a chance to be there for my daughters, to help them ease into all this newness.
Especially for my kindergartner.
I’ve been able to watch her day in and day out step into her classroom, sign her name on a clipboard, and put her bag in a cubby.
Together we sit down at her table and do the morning activity.
Coloring the school bus.
Or making a spider out of play dough.
Or drawing her favorite meal.
Thirty precious minutes with her which I know I won’t have once baby comes and daddy starts taking her to school.
So I’ve been soaking it in and then crying in the car because I cannot get a grip on this reality that the kids are growing up.
People tell me over and over how it’s okay, how I will get to have another little one soon and I know they mean well.
But having another one doesn’t change the fact that my other two aren’t babies anymore.
Having another one doesn’t fill the void or take away the pain.
Because what I would really like is the ability to go back and smother them more, hold them tighter, have more fun and relive every single one of their firsts.
. . . . . . . .
I’ve heard it often, how fast it goes and in a way I never really believed it.
Now I’m here, envying all the mommas who have toddlers under their wings.
I see them at bookstores, at grocery stores, at the park, on social sites.
And it takes me back to when my oldest was two years old.
How we would wake up and treat each day like an adventure.
Yeah, I know that age, the toddler years; it can be stressful and exhausting and your heart skips a beat when bedtime comes around.
But she was my little pal and I loved seeing the world through her eyes.
Absolutely loved it.
Everything was exciting, everything was fascinating, everything had a new meaning.
And I’m standing in the kitchen, drinking my tea, spacing out and reminiscing and it dawns on me that I am grieving.
Actually grieving and I finally get why all of this has been so hard for me.
Having both of my kids in school full time.
Feeling like my hands, finger by finger have been slowly unclasped without my asking.
Wondering if I did anything right.
Hating on all the moments I let my mouth run.
Knowing mistakes were made and wishing I could have a redo.
The world calls it bittersweet and I don’t really know if it’s even the word for what I am feeling.
I simply never expected it to hurt so much.
The letting go part.
Right now, my youngest has one top tooth missing and the other one hanging by a thread.
She’s feisty and talkative and speaks her mind with this innocent little lisp.
She makes sure to tell me as often as possible how much she dislikes the school uniform.
She asks me why she has to be like everyone else.
She throws a fit here and there about the whole thing and informs me that she will only wear the ruffled laced socks.
And I’m savoring it.
I stand in the hallway at 3 p.m. sharp and watch her run to me with that big smile on her face and holy cow, it ties me up in knots . . . . . .