In the working-mom world, I’m a little late to this separation party. As the owner of the daycare my daughter has attended since she was 12 weeks old, I’ve never had to say goodbye, and physically exit the building. I’ve always been around, sometimes lurking in doorways, sometimes working in the room. A unique position, one for which I’ve always been thankful.
Last year, I won a week at a local farm camp at a silent auction. Total fluke, they were just closing down when I saw no one had bid, so I threw a couple bucks down for it. I thought the timing was helpful, as it was the summer before kindergarten, and she needed to practice leaving me. Today was the first day- I had played out the scenario in my head, braced myself for the tears, and did my best to amp up the excitement. She was leery, but agreed to give it a fair shot.
Talk about turning the tables! We pulled in to the parking lot and saw lots of kids gathering under a pavilion. She hopped out of the truck, grabbed my hand, and led the way. As we arrived at the sign in table, she went right up to the teacher. “I’m Claire, and I’m five!”, she declared as she held up her 5 fingers. The teacher smiled, showed her which group was hers, and without missing a beat, she was on her way, waving her hand behind her, shouting “Bye, Mama!”. I actually had to chase her to get a kiss goodbye!
I lingered as I signed her in, introducing myself to whomever looked like they worked there. In the distance, her back was to me as she sat at a picnic table, clearly chatting with the little girl next to her. I meandered up the driveway, turning occasionally to see if she was still there. The realization came to me then, as I realized I was spying on her through the bushes. Claire was fine- I was the one who needed the practice. I laughed as I got in the truck and wiped my tears, and I soaked in this parenting milestone. xo