The First Day of the Rest of Her Life

One of the hardest parts of parenting is knowing when you are not enough for your kids. There comes a time when you can’t give them everything that they need. A time when they need more than what you can offer, while still staying sane yourself.

That’s where I am this morning. We just dropped A off at her first day of Pre-K, and drop off went swimmingly well. She was nervous – but there were no tears – and there were even a few smiles. And now I’m home with E, who’s eating cereal, and I’m doing all I can to not break down into uncontrollable sobs.

Don’t get me wrong … I’m excited about the quiet time. I’m excited to have time to work on my own dreams. Excited to find my identity outside of “mom” once again. And I’m excited to have some intentional time with E … because that hasn’t happened in all of her short little life.

But man – am I feeling all the feels this morning. Pride at watching her find her name and sit in the circle of kids. So proud of her for looking through my oil bag and finding the one that would help her be brave and strong this morning. (She chose Stress Away, in case you’re wondering). So proud that there were no tears, not from any of us.

Proud of myself for taking the next step towards finding community for our family here in this little town where we live. And proud of myself for putting her needs first. Because the truth is, homeschool wasn’t enough for her … not in the way that I could do it here. When I first dreamed of homeschool, I dreamed of an urban city life. A life where we could be at a museum in 5 minutes, and I could teach her as we experienced the world around us. A life where we didn’t have to spend time in the car to find a solid community of other homeschoolers. A life where we could walk across the street and be at a park where there was all kinds of nature, and a playground in between. A life that just isn’t feasible here. And who knows – maybe that kind of homeschool wouldn’t have been enough for her anyway.

I’m feeling all kinds of sadness that she’s no longer mine all of the time. Sadness that I can’t make up our schedule as we go anymore. Sadness that I am no longer enough for her. I honestly am not sure I ever thought this day would come. She’s always needed me so much … she’s always been such a fierce sidekick to me. It’s hard to believe she needs something else too.

And yet in that pride and sadness that I’m feeling, I’m also feeling incredible gratitude. Gratitude for the adults that will become faithful adults in her life. Gratitude for the friends that she will make, who will probably teach her more than I ever could (for better or for worse). Gratitude for the community that we are destined to create here.

And although I’m realizing today that there’s a whole lot more that I don’t know about her … and a whole lot more left to discover, what I do know is that she was so excited to start school. “Tomorrow is a special day, Mama!” She said to me last night before she fell asleep. “Today is a special day, dada!” she said to D this morning when she woke up.

And indeed it is.

Crystal Rowe

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wife to D, mama to A & E, sister, daughter, niece, aunt, follower of Christ, writer, book lover, beloved child of God