Tuesday, April 27, 2010

When I brought her home I cried for days... I was quite sure she was never going to grow up. I was sure I would be wiping her nose and/or butt forever. Sigh... it is not so.
Today I held her hand, very tight, as we walked into my old elementary school. As I looked down every hallway I saw life, my life, minus twenty years. I saw classrooms I'd sat in, remembered teachers and classmates I'd enjoyed. I saw how life changes and places change and people change. I looked down at my little person, changed. Darn you time.
I found myself defensive as the secretary asked "So, is this Carolyn?" Like meeting my daughter should require more than a simple "Yup - here she is [pat on back]... see ya sucker". Of course, those were only my neurotic thoughts, in reality I said "yes" politely and took the forest worth of trees in paper-work then set to work.
As I checked box after box reading "legal parental rights", "lives with parents", "married" I wondered what the paperwork looked like in the 1960s when my dad was enrolled at this same school, then how it changed in the 80s for my enrollment here as well. Three generations at the same place, maybe she'll be a Jayhawk too. That'd be pretty cool.
The teachers called for Carolyn as I continued to climb the mountain of paperwork. Carolyn had reviewed all possible questions that could be asked on the drive over, and felt prepared enough to hop off the chair without hesitation and walk in with confidence. They seemed excited to see her.
I was amazed that an evaluation of her entire first five formative years could be summed up in a 10-minute review, but they seemed satisfied and so was I. She was given a small bag of M&Ms and a few minutes to play on a large carpet in the corner... the corner of my old library. I used to play Oregon Trail in this room, over by those windows, under which she is now sitting. Strange.
I am led down the hall, into my 4th grade classroom. Its a computer lab now, no more Oregon Trail. I sit down to review the results of her evaluation. All is well, very, very well. Her only mistakes came in not knowing her address or phone number and one rhyme. The "READY FOR KINDERGARTEN" stamp seemed to be big, bold and glaring at me from across the table. Tears. Not lame 'oh my goodness my baby is going to kindergarten' tears - but 'am I ready for this?' tears.
I walk back down the hall to retrieve my girly. I think we'll never come back. I think I can't handle throwing her to the wolves like this. I know there are no wolves, I know. I know she's almost six. I know she's capable, I know. I know the teachers and staff are capable too, believe me, I know. But, I just don't know.
We walk slowly up the stairs, I used to walk this way to lunch in the cafeteria. The cafeteria is now a computer lab. Jeez there are a lot of computers. She wants to see the new cafeteria, we walk the halls, peaking into classrooms. She tells me she thinks this school will be "REALLY fun". We look down into the new deluxe gym where she will eat lunch. I think "Seriously? My girly is going to maneuver a lunchroom at six?" I just don't know about this.

After dance class she has a request. "Mommy? Can you drive me by the Kindergarten School so I can show Julia." Sure. We do.


Angela said...

Sniff, sniff. They grow up so fast. The school is lucky to have her.

Katie, you are a gifted writer. Your blog is one of my favorites and I actually read it and not just look at the pictures as I am guilty of doing other places. I would visit often whether I knew you or not. I don't always write a comment, but I wanted you to know that I am often here.

Jessica said...

So very glad I have a few years before I have to do this. I am definitely not ready. I got tears reading this.

Missy said...

oh, I loved this post. I already have these thoughts and Addie can't even walk yet...

Kimberlee said...

B:mommy why are you crying? Me: oh mommys just being silly - kind of.....thanks for sharing Katie - you have a gift my friend and it helps me to think I am not so weird.