Well, it's happened again. Another child has started Kindergarten. Yes, I'm relieved for school to start, and yes, I'll go along with the jokes about "four down, one to go," and yes, it's nice to have my house sort of back after summertime.
But you know how I really feel? Deep down? That I've lost another one.
She's only four years old. She was ours, all ours, to have, to hold, to shape. She was ours, all ours, to share with the world as we wished, or not. We decided where she went, with whom, what she saw, what she didn't see, what she heard about, what we could keep her from hearing.
That's over. We now share her with the world, and the world will now have a much bigger hand in raising her with us.
She is ready. She was born ready. I've known this about her since she was around 14 months old, and she walked into our back yard full of about 40 or so strangers who were touring our garden. She had no idea they were there, and while her older sister took one look at the crowd and made a bee line back into the safe confines of the empty house, Elizabeth took one look and saw a party starting, stretched her arms out in front of her, smiled her wide and crazy smile, and ran into the crowd. She loves the world and all of the people in it. This, of course, baffles both of her introverted-leaning, slightly-suspicious-of-humanity parents, but she will not be stopped.
I am not worried about her or how she will do. I know she will thrive. But I am already nostalgic for her baby days, for her toddler days, for her daycare and preschool days, for her days when no one spent more time with her than I did.
Was I patient enough with her? Did I read to her enough? Did I let her watch too much TV? Was I too hard on her, or not hard enough? Did I feed her well enough? Did I feed her on my dreams, the ones she picked, the ones I'll know by?
So yes, I am muddled. And to completely indulge my muddle, I am enjoying a glass of wine and an Elizabeth Retrospective:
I just love her, and I have a hard time sharing.
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