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It’s been a week of major milestones. Julia started kindergarten. Charlie had his first day of school ever. And Will and I celebrated our 10-year anniversary.
As I write this, I’m sitting at home alone in the middle of the week, for the first time ever. Our house feels strangely quiet and empty, and yet the air is practically buzzing with the anticipation of a new baby coming into our lives. As we’re sending our kids out into the world, about to welcome another baby into the world, I keep coming back to Julia’s words on her first day of kindergarten: "I’m half nervous and half excited, but mostly I’m excited."
I’ve been full of angst about this week for months now, nervous about all the big changes happening at once, wondering how our family will handle them all. But, Julia stepped onto the school bus happily the first day, dressed in her new school shoes and her pink polka dot tights, her Hello, Kitty lunchbox packed snugly inside her Ariel backpack. She practically bounded off the bus all smiles at the end of the day, announcing: "It was the greatest day of my life!" And, dropping Charlie off for his first day of school was so much less traumatic than it was when Julia started preschool. He’s been so excited about his Spider-Man lunchbox and wearing a backpack that’s practically as big as he is. Still, when I dropped him off at school for the first time this morning, there was some clinging (Charlie’s), and there were some tears (mine, after I left the building), but I think Charlie’s really going to like it there.
It’s hard to send our babies off into the world, trusting that they’re going to be safe, well cared for, and happy. And it’s weird not knowing exactly what they’re doing during the day. I guess from here on out, for the rest of our lives, it’s going to be like this--letting go little by little, watching as our kids become more and more independent, and hoping that we’ve done our jobs well enough that they can walk out into the world with confidence.
If the next 10 years fly by as quickly as the past 10, then I can’t even imagine the letting go that will be taking place when Will and I are celebrating our 20th anniversary. We’ll be looking ahead to college, gearing up for the days when we’ll drop our kids off at school for good, coming home to an even quieter, even emptier house. I stumbled upon an essay in the Boston Globe recently called "I was the sun, the kids were my planets," and have been thinking about it ever since. I’m sure it must be the pregnancy hormones, but I can’t read it without getting teary-eyed:
"To grow a child, a body changes. It needs more sleep. It rejects food it used to like. It expands and it adapts. To let go of a child, a body changes, too. It sighs and it cries and it feels weightless and heavy at the same time…"
As I was re-reading it, I got a call from Charlie’s school, asking if I’d like to come and pick him up early, because he was having a hard time. With my heart breaking for him, I raced off to bring my boy home. And when I got there, he bounced off his chair, ran over to me, and gave me the biggest, tightest hug ever. As I wiped his tear-streaked face, he smiled at me and said: "I had a weally fun day at school, mom."
Something tells me that we’re all going to do just fine.
Join FitPregnancy.com's Managing Editor Dana Rousmaniere each week as she blogs about her third pregnancy.