My alarm beeped at 6:20 and I heaved the belly out of bed to get ready. They were still sleeping, so I ate my cheerios and read. After dressing, I opened their door and greeted those precious girls of mine with smiles and urgency.
“Good morning girls! Today we’re going to check out a school for Elianna. Let’s go eat and get dressed so we’re not late!”
El responded, “mom we already like the school!”
“Well let’s go find out.”
In a routine completely unfamiliar to us, we quickly ate cheerios, dressed, brushed teeth and hair, and loaded into the van with boots and smiles. Planning ahead, I stopped by the Starbucks drive thru and through choked tears, ordered a tall 1 pump vanilla latte. I never order that drink.
We chatted and drove and I cried.
Flashes of my firstborn swaddled in my arms and chunky toddler legs running ran through my head as I gasped at the fleeting of it all. How is it possible that my almost four year old is… almost four?! She is even at the tail end of being old enough for preschool and we’re only just checking it out but suddenly I wanted to grab at those four years and hold them in my arms forever. She, the girl who made me a mama is beginning her journey into girlhood and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.
Yesterday we played the game Memory for the first time and clapped and squealed over making matches. I remember playing Memory with my mama! How is she old enough to fit her life into memories?!
The preschool was lovely and fine and we’re praying about whether or not we can even afford preschool at all, but the heaviness of the day belongs to the acknowledgement that my baby isn’t a baby anymore. She is changing and growing rapidly with a thinning body, questions about how the world works, and a growing understanding of her responsibilities to listen, obey, and help with her sisters.
I’m trying to wrap my mind around the idea of our lives changing to fit around a school schedule and new baby. Regardless of whether or not we do preschool, the day is coming soon when that four year old will be five and school is everyday, every year… I knew it would come some day and suddenly it feels like it’s tomorrow.
I am choosing now to soak in today. To kiss those cheeks and enjoy our freedom as three girls who can venture to the library and donuts or stay in our PJs and watch Dinosaur Train. Because before I know it, they’ll all be in school.
It’s taken me several months to grab onto why I chose to stay home for the preschool years after working full time (mostly at home) for the first three years of motherhood. Today? I totally get it.