Twelve years ago my daughter Ashley finished kindergarten and exited the school bus looking quite triumphant. We hugged and as we walked back to our house I said to her, "Just think, next year you will be going to first grade." She stopped dead in her tracks and looked at me with those big brown eyes and said "Oh, I am not going back again next year." It seems she was under the impression that her school career began and ended with kindergarten. Maybe in all the excitement of starting school I had failed to cover the exact time commitment involved. My bad.
Today as I sat with tears streaming down my face during the Senior Celebration I couldn't help but remember that little girl. The senior slide show (a ritual designed to make peri-menopausal women sob their mascara off) consists of a toddler/baby picture and a recent picture of each graduating senior. I was about three cute little cherub faces in when the tears started flowing. It wasn't just my child's photo that got to me but it was every photo. They were all so sweet and then BOOM two seconds later the grown-up version of the little faces appeared. Couple the photos with some sappy songs and you have yourself a soggy snot faced Kim
Where had all that time gone between me explaining that she indeed did have to go back next year , and for the next eleven years and today. Who had hit the fast forward button on my little girl's life? How could all those individual days that seemed like they went on forever fly by so quickly? I want my baby back for a day or two.
I want to snuggle and make cookies and have complete and total control over her fate and her play dates. But just for a day or two, because I know that I have to let her step out into the world and make new tomorrows without me by her side.
In a few short months she will drive away to begin her college career. I take a little credit for her achievements, after all, I am the one that broke the news to her that she had to go back for twelve more years.