Right now, my daughter is sleeping. Her blond hair is tousled from erratic tossing and turning, and she’s probably still clinging to her chosen cuddle object of the moment—a wiffle ball bat. Her Little Mermaid jammies are too snug, but she insists on wearing them, for fear that they’ll be handed down to her baby sister once she’s officially outgrown them. Right now, she is blissfully unfettered. Her imagination runs wild, never having been tamed by the four walls of education, until today.
In a few hours, my daughter will enter “the system.” Two years of preschool will be followed by twelve years of “big kid” school (as she calls it), and then….who knows? She’ll be out in the world. Will she attend traditional college? Will she go on to get her Master’s? Her PhD? Or will she immediately start a family, or travel the world, or even join the military? (I think she’d rather like being a drill instructor.)
Will she go on to accomplish great things? Or will she live out a happy, but nondescript life? Will she run for office someday? Will she run for president?
These are the questions running through my head this morning. While I know I’m racing far ahead of the day at hand, I can’t help myself. My little baby is maturing at the speed of light, and being in school is only cranking the wheel faster. I know one thing’s for sure. She’s SO excited about preschool. She has been practicing wearing her backpack around, and when she saw the sentimental look on my face, she assured me, “Don’t cry mom. I’m just going to put books of learning in here.”
Books of learning. And art projects. And notes from your teacher. And someday (hopefully years from now), notes from a boy. There I go again, taking it too far. Just like last night, when I was tucking her into bed. I scooped her up in a bear hug, repeatedly kissed her sweet head, and told her, “I just can’t believe you’re starting preschool. You’re all grown up!”
She pushed me aside (who wants hugs from mom?), looked me in the eyes, and said, “MOM! I’m just a little kid.” Yes, honey. You’re just a little kid. And this is just preschool. And I’m still freaking out a little.