Last week Hermione started Kindergarten. My baby. It is hard for me to grasp that the same little girl who would cling to my leg in any new social setting, who needed me in the classroom for her first three weeks of preschool is now a Kindergartener.
Waking her up early (we have to leave at 7:20 for school now) and helping her put on her uniform, the same uniform I wore as a girl brought back so many memories of mornings years ago. That's right, Hermione is going the same all girls school I attended. She is wearing the same green plaid uniform I wore for all of Lower School. I can still feel the stiff fabric of the jumper on my skin. Looking at her once she was all dressed for school was like looking at a picture of myself circa 1986.
Our morning commute to school involves a subway ride uptown and taxi across the park. I can already tell these are going to be some of my favorite moments of the day. Still slightly sleepy she asked if she could lay in my lap on the subway. Stroking her hair while she rested on me I willed time to slow down. Let me take in this moment where she is so big and yet still so little. Let her always be comforted by my closeness. Let her always want me-even if it's just a fraction of how she does now.
Once we arrived at school we took a few requisite first day photos outside and then proceeded into the lobby and up to her new classroom. She was surprisingly calm and collected as we located her classroom, found her locker (she was thrilled she doesn't have to share one anymore!), her spot at the work tables and then hugged and kissed me goodbye. I was a wreck. Choking back tears I literally had to run (6 miles!) home to work out some emotional energy.
This of course was not the first time I have dropped her off at school. I have been dropping her off for so many things for many years. Kindergarten is bigger. This is the school she could likely be at all the way through high school. One of the girls in her class could become her best friend, her person. This is the school where she will experience all of the firsts of growing up. Where she will inevitably fall and fail, and get back up again stronger.
I once read that the hardest thing to come to terms with about our children is that they are of us but they are not us. Yes, I grew Hermione in my body (sometimes this fact still shocks me). Yes, I am raising her and caring for her and loving her as best as I can. But she is not me. With everyday she is growing away from me. Step by step she is becoming more and more grown up. Day by day she is needing me less and less. Today Kindergarten, tomorrow college.
Did your kids start Kindergarten, high school, college this week? How do you feel?