Our daughter missed the cut off for kindergarten because of her birth date. So even though she turned five, she remained in preschool for another year. (If you could see me right now, my arms are raised and I’m woo-hoo’ing….the extension of her time in preschool was like a big birthday and Christmas present rolled into one for me.) I have had
a bit a lot of anxiety associated to this time of her (our) life ending….and I’ve pinned it down as to exactly why I was so anxious. In most cases in my parenting so far, developments which marked her growing up have come gradually, with windows of time to accomplish each milestone. For example, rolling over, walking, potty training, first lost tooth…..all of these milestones were accomplished by her without pressure. Without signifying a real ENDING with a hard date with NO LOOKING BACK.
As the end of her last year of preschool approaches, with her last preschool field trips, with her last preschool summer impending (and also being the shortest summer we have ever had), and with that big circled August 20th glaring at me on the calendar as her first day of elementary school…..I’ve been getting the feeling as though the door to this part of her childhood, the only part I know, is SLAMMING shut.
Then something happened. She had her first dance recital.
And she was amazing…..like, so unafraid, so excited, so confident, so prepared.
I woke up the next morning and I was still thrilled that the performance really was so good (at this age it seems that a good performance entails everyone staying on stage the entire time and not freezing in place or crying), and I was excited that she had not only performed so well, but that she stayed to watch the entire recital, completely and totally entranced with the music and the stories being told on stage. She genuinely enjoys dance. And I thought about how much she loves swimming, gymnastics, tennis, and recently yoga. It occurred to me that she has genuine interests…not just lessons I take her to hoping she likes something. And I thought about how smart she is….she is so thrilled with herself when she shows me her school work and how she beams with pride when she adds and subtracts for me. And I realized, she is ready. She is prepared. And she still has SO MANY FIRSTS left to experience. So just like that, I felt things shift. The anxious feeling that went along with all her “lasts” has changed to excitement. Nervous excitement…but excitement none the less!
So now I look forward to not her last preschool summer, but her first summer of swim team, and her first day of kindergarten, and all the first time’s this new chapter will bring.