Tuesday was Hannah's first day of Kindergarten. I know. I can't believe it either. I was more than a little worried about how this milestone might go down, given that Hannah is a highly sensitive kid. Being a highly sensitive grown-up, I know the kinds of things she'll need to cope with (bright lights, loud noises, strong smells, new social settings, cold and hard surfaces, new educational demands, and last, but certainly not least, a different sleep schedule).
Fortunately for both of us, I'm far too busy a gal to have the time to freak out. Which means I didn't have the time to let my own fears rub off on her.
I managed to get through all the main preparatory stages - clothing and supply purchases, enrollment, lunch money and supplies, a few lessons on what life is like as a kindergartner - without more than a cursory blip of nostalgia.
It wasn't until I had her and Caroline tucked into bed and began making her lunch in the quiet dark of the evening that I had my first cry. It wasn't long, or hard. But there was sadness. Mostly because I felt like life has been too hectic to really ease her into this transition. And because she and I were facing this milestone on our own. And there's a little bitterness there.
Tuesday morning, I went into her room to wake her up and received the following comments:
"Mama, this is why I wasn't excited about kindergarten. I'm too tired to get up. It feels like I took a one-second nap."
And yes, I laughed and felt a bit of glee for the payback. "Now you know how mama feels when you guys don't let me sleep!"
She was up and dressed in no time, and we stopped for a few pictures before heading out on her big day.
She handled everything well once we got to school, too. Lots of hubbub and chaos, but she didn't seem bothered.
Hannah's teacher returned in time for the start of the school year, despite the fact that her mother had just passed away. She has her own kindergartner, too, and I was so impressed that she was back and functional. The room was a bit of a circus, with parents milling about, kids alternately clinging to legs or getting into stuff they weren't yet supposed to touch. Hannah took her place on the rug and I saw the first teeny hints of trepidation.
Until she noticed me with the camera.
It wasn't until it was time for me to go that I saw her little lower lip begin to tremble. That's when I knew I was in trouble.
She jumped up and came over to me for a big hug, crying pretty plainly. I gave her a hug, told her how proud I was of her, and how much fun she was going to have that day. She asked me for a tissue, wiped her eyes, and then went back to her place.
I managed to make it to the hallway before I came undone. It didn't last long, and I was pretty well recovered by the time I left the building.
I'm so proud of my Hannah Girl. I can't believe how far we've come.