Aoife started PreK on Monday morning. I have a very different perspective this time around. I remember when Aidan and Emmy went to PreK and it seemed like an exciting and momentous day but I had a different feeling today.
Today Aoife's life changed. As we waited in line for her teacher to take her to class, I couldn't help but feel that she was standing on the cusp of her life, just waiting to take that first step into the fray. Today, with that single step through the gate she started a journey that won't end for another 16 or more years. Days of school and friends; who to sit with at lunch and who to play with at recess. Balancing between staying true to herself and being part of the group. Days full of classes and sports; nights full of studying. Years and years to come. First success, first failure, first win, first loss, first crush and first heartbreak.
At drop off I looked around and saw the parents of oldest children fighting back the same hot tears that I remember vividly from years past. This time around I was doing the same but for a very different reason. While their hearts were breaking with the fear and excitement of letting their precious child into the world, mine was overjoyed to introduce the world to my precious child. To know what is before her is thrilling and terrifying all at once.
Now she will spend as much if not more time with her peers and teacher than with me at home. She will begin to break away, tiny bit by tiny bit. It won't be noticeable at first; she'll still want to hold my hand and cuddle on the couch. But one day she'll want to do her homework without my help and then she'll want to read to herself before bed instead of pressing her small warm body onto my lap and asking, "Can we read just one more story, Mama?"
But today isn't that time quite yet. She still wants to wear hairbows and cute dresses and play with stuffed animals. We're on our way, but this time I get the pleasure of enjoying each moment. The pleasure that only comes from the knowledge of how quickly they pass by.
Aoife before school - new outfit and new Keens!
The gang before Aoife's first day: