When I sent my first daughter off to VPK (Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten), I was ready. Her sister was just 18 months, and I was so happy to have some “alone” time with the baby, who I had always juggled time with before. As I sent our big girl away to school every day, I was so proud of her. She was never scared, always independent, and loved learning.
But now it’s time for our baby to start pre-kindergarten five days a week, and I can’t help but feel the ache in my heart. She’s our last, I can’t have another baby due to not only our age, but the fact that I’ve been in menopause for what seems like forever. And she is the complete opposite of her sister, she does not like school.
“You mean I have to go every single day?” she asked exasperated. “But I want to be a mermaid when I growed up, I don’t need to learn for that!”
The conversations the week leading up to school didn’t go well. She didn’t understand why she had to go, and the closer we came to the first day of school I didn’t want to let her go. She’s my baby so full of joy, and I am going to miss her so much. The tears wouldn’t stop falling as I realized I no longer had her home with me four days a week.
Will she like it? Will she grow to love learning? Will she be OK?
Will I be OK?
After the years and years of struggling to conceive, we made a conscious choice for me to work part-time so I could raise our girls as much as possible. I stay home 3-4 days a week, and work around their schedules. They have been my primary job, and as the new school season begins, I’m left with time.
Time to think. Time to reflect. Time to figure out how to spend my time. Time to wonder who I am now.
The big irony in life for me, is that having children really ended up being the easiest part of raising them. Sleep training sure was horrible, potty training seemed never ending, but the here and now is the hardest part; unraveling the mystery of who I am supposed to be?
We all struggle with our identity and self-worth as we age. We gain wisdom with each gray hair, understanding the bigger picture as opposed to the minute details that used to ruffle us in the past. But now that our children are spending less time at home, I’m left with a gaping hole in my heart and my schedule, and not sure how to fill it.
Instead of succumbing to my insecurities, worries, and chatter in my head though, I retreated to our back porch. The sun had set and a storm was brewing and I did my favorite thing in the world…watch the rain. It was there that a sense of peace washed over me, one that felt like trust. Trust in that whatever is supposed to be is happening. Trust that each day will unfold and present my next purpose. Trust in myself and that my talents will lead me.
Just as our beautiful children walked so gracefully into their next grade and next school, so will I. I will follow their lead into the seemingly unknown, knowing fully that whatever comes next is where I’m supposed to be. Whether we’re ready or not life always evolves and changes, and it’s time to embrace this next chapter with open arms.