Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life...

There is a line.  On one side of the line is the way things were.  On the other side of the line is the way things are now.  Sometimes we can see the line a long ways off and we eagerly anticipate it - the moment we get to throw our caps in the air, the moment we get to say I do, the moment we get to here it’s a ....!  Other times we don’t see the line coming at all, slipping from one unchanged moment to the next, until suddenly there it is and we’re caught with our arms wind-milling, teetering precariously between what was and what is. Sometimes the “lasts” come and we don’t realize it was the last until it’s too late to mark it, too late to make it significant and meaningful. 

Tristan and Ava started Grade 1 yesterday and today I bought myself my own alarm clock.  I feel both like I’m teetering between what was and now is, and a kind of grief for the lasts I didn’t notice.  Monday was the last weekday morning Sebastian would crawl into bed with me and the last time I didn’t have to set a regular alarm.  And I didn’t even realize it.  I knew school was coming.  I knew the kids would be going everyday but for some reason that fact didn’t hit me until this morning when I woke up to Hugh’s alarm for the second day in a row and then reset it for tomorrow morning.  For 7 years - since I went on maternity leave with Tristan and Ava - I have woken up to my kids and not an alarm.  This morning after resetting Hugh’s alarm I realized with somewhat of a shock that I have forever left behind that world of babies and slow days and weekday morning snuggles and staying in my pj’s for as long as possible.  Just that quickly I am entrenched in a new phase in our family’s life.  School. 

This year at school has brought another separation besides just mine from the majority of the kids waking hours - which feels huge enough.  This year Tristan and Ava decided they wanted to have their own stories to tell at the end of the day and chose to be in separate Grade 1 classes.  It was so strange dropping them off in different rooms.  Tristan walked in as confident as anything but Ava walked in to her class and there were no girls from her Kindergarten class last year.  She had a white knuckle grip on my hands as I walked her over to a table of girls and introduced her.  Her good-bye hug was desperately fierce and her little face as I turned for a last look just about broke my heart.  Even as I walked away fighting tears I knew Ava would be okay.  I knew she would make new friends in this class.  I knew God’s perfect plan for her was being worked out in this strange new situation she found herself in.  But she wasn’t okay when I left her so I wasn’t okay.  And I knew I wouldn’t be okay until I could hear from her that she was okay.  Sure enough when I picked up the kids at the end of the day Ava was bubbling over with information about her new friends and her new class and her new teacher.  Just like that she was walking confidently on the other side of the line she had been teetering over only that morning.

As for me I’m still teetering trying to navigate my way through agendas, homework, class notes, reading programs, making lunches every single day without peanut butter.  I’m sure by the end of the week I will be firmly and confidently in “what is” but today I can’t help missing what was.   Oh what I would give right this minute while I’m trying to find my balance on that line for one more Wednesday morning snuggle in my bed, one more moment of being able to make it all better with a kiss.  And yet, I think I lived those moments of babyhood, toddlerhood and early kidhood as fully as possible.  I can honestly say I have no major regrets about the last six years.  Minor ones like why didn’t I let Ava cut her hair sooner?  Or why did I waste so much energy being frustrated with pee accidents?  But those are all par for the motherhood course.  That thing they say about hindsight is so true.  Do I wonder if I’ve done enough?  Absolutely.  I don’t think you can help wondering that as you send your kids off into the next phase of their life  equipped with only a backpack, a Hello Kitty or Spiderman water bottle and a pair of indoor shoes.  But, as Hugh said to me last night, it’s not about parenting so that your kids don’t make mistakes or never get hurt.  It’s about teaching them what to do, how to handle it, when they do make them or it does happen.

Wise words.  Freeing words.  Words I totally agree with and will live by as soon as I get sorted who needs what for which class, where the kids are supposed to put their indoor shoes since they don’t have cubbies  like Kindergarten, and what exactly I’m supposed to be writing or signing in each agenda.


  1. Very wise words from your husband, and yourself. It resonated with me that as you walked away from Ava with an aching heart that your first thought was that it was ok bc right then God's perfect plan was being worked out for her.

    Wow, do I need to remember that as I'm fighting to slow down time and keep them at this age. God is writing their perfect story, and even as Ella is clinging to me when I drop her off at school, God is holding her, molding her, and He's chosen me to be her parent and lead her to Him.


    Thank you Heather. I've been struggling with this and your post spoke to me :)

  2. Always a pleasure to read. And what a legacy you are creating for children just by writing all your thoughts and struggles and epiphanies down for them to read and savour and learn from when they are older.
    PS Hard to believe that in a couple more years you will be looking forward to the routine of school after the leisurely days of summer! :)

  3. Beautiful. The story (or stories as it were) is just beginning. xx

  4. This made me sad... I am not ready to take Clare to kindergarden. Full time.

  5. This hits so close to home as I get Mykah ready for Full Day kindergarten in a few days and I'm reminded me of how it was with the other two girls. Heather, your words always ring true for so many of us moms. Excuse me while I go shed a tear to two.