Yesterday I had been busy all day and it just never stopped. I had done the gym, ran the errands, did the Sam’s bulk trip, picked up the bigs from school, made the lunches, organized the “office” (laughable, it’s a desk with lots of crap and then a few actual vital pieces of information, like birth certificates…). I did the dishes, cleaned the kitchen, did the laundry, and was into organizing more. I had put everyone down for a nap, when in the middle of my “getting our life together”, my big came creeping down the steps.
If you know me as a parent at all, then you know that our naptime is mandatory. As in non-optional. No, you will not be getting up. This is your bed and this is where you lay for the next 1-2 hours. (This is not me taking a stand on naptime. This is just what works for me and my family. I really, truly don’t care if your child naps or not. Everyone please quit making every dad blame thing a soapbox topic. This is what’s wrong with the world. Everything’s a “thing”.)
But, nevertheless, here she came. Sneaking so silently I didn’t even hear her. Except, I knew she was there, due to the eyes in the back of my head that all mothers grow the moment they leave the hospital with their new bundle. She asked to stay up. “I’m just not sleepy, mama. Everyone else is asleep and I just can’t, so can I stay up?”. I caved to silent rest on the couch while I finished downstairs. After a few minutes, I felt her peering at me. I looked over at her, put down my work, and snuggled with her on the couch. This can wait.
You see the thing is, she’s graduating from Preschool in three weeks. I am launching her into a new world of public school, larger classroom sizes, new friends, possible bullies, new teachers, more responsibility, testing, homework, peer pressure, comparison, and no “unexcused days”. No days of staying home because I would just rather have her with me. No days of playing hookie to go to the movies instead. No pick up at 11:30, so I will get to eat lunch with her. None of that. All of these days are nearly gone. Gone in 19 very short days. Tears are burning my eyes as I type these very words…
I thought I was ok with all of this. We did kindergarten registration a few weeks back. I didn’t cry. I was excited for her. A little nervous, but excited… as I remember my first days of school being too- a little nervous, but exciting. But yesterday, in the middle of my errand running, I went to the book section in Target to find an appropriate book to have all of her teachers sign as we launch her into this next phase. A book that I will send on the last days of school, to every teacher of hers, for the next 12+ years. I found the perfect book. I sat there, in the back of Target, holding Maggie Ruth, and cried and cried. The more I thought of Charlotte launching, the tighter I held my 13 month old. God help this poor baby. Being the last won’t be easy, and I can assure you, if she wants to stay in this house until thirty-five, THEN THAT WILL BE FINE AND NONE OF YOU WILL SAY ANY CONDEMNING WORDS, OR IN ANY WAY PUSH HER TO LEAVE ME!!!!
AND THEN I CRIED SOME MORE.
So I put aside my work that I didn’t finish, because let’s be honest… it’s a long list of unfinished things that I will pick back up the next day, and the next, and the next, and the next to finish. But it can wait. Because Charlotte won’t. She won’t wait to grow. She won’t wait to grow another inch taller. She will soon cut her own food. And read books to herself. She will fix her own hair. And pull the paint set down by herself. She one day soon will not lay down for a nap after lunch, but instead tend to homework and then go ride her bike down the street. She will one day soon set her own alarm for school, not needing me to gently brush her hair off of her face and wake her sweetly. “One day” is turning into “One day soon”, and too soon will it become “today”.
So for now, I will lay with her on the couch, and let her fall asleep cuddled up next to me. Us both waking with our cheeks stuck together. I want her to launch. I want her to succeed, and fail. I want her to go and grow at “big school.” Moving up to the next grade, growing older… it’s a privelege that is denied to so many. I want her to become a sweet girl, and beautiful teenager, and kind woman, and thoughtful wife, and attentive mother. And career woman, or entrepreneur, or homemaker, or whatever calling God sends her into. But I will hold this sweet five year old, until she won’t let me anymore. I will hold her until “One day” becomes “today”.