Monday, September 8, 2008

Change is Afoot

Dear Airius and Annie,

Today, for the first time in your lives, I left you in the care of complete strangers for 3 1/2 hours. You were both thrilled. Though Daddy and I managed to make it through without tears, it was a bittersweet moment for us. On one hand, I'm amazed that I've managed to raise two children who feel self-assured enough that they weren't the least bit concerned with their parents leaving them. I'm in awe of the fact that you've both been classified as "outgoing" and "talkative," despite being raised in a situation where your social expression has been minimized and your father is content to go weeks without seeing another living being. I feel proud, with a sense of parental accomplishment, that both of you approached this change with unfettered optimism and excitement.

On the other hand... I'm so sad to see you go. Sitting just beyond the reach of that maternal pride is a lump of guilt and a huge feeling of failure for having sent you off to be taught by others rather than having kept you home to learn as a family. I'm so very hesitant to let you go, my two first little hatchlings that really made this nest. It's so very strange to know that some other woman will be teaching you, guiding you, shaping you, and even feeding you! Maybe I'm even just a bit jealous that someone else will wheedle their way into your affections. Maybe.

But, oh! The confidence that you both have! Annie, you didn't hesitate for a moment. I asked you three times if you wanted me to stay until all the other kids came into the classroom. You were having none of it, waving cheerily and sending me on my way, pigtails bouncing as you skipped towards the dolls laid in a mini cradle. I was strong then and walked out with my head held high after giving you a hug and kiss and snapping a photo, but I'm fighting back tears now as I remember that moment.

Airius, you stomped your foot impatiently as you waited for the morning class to file out before you could enter. One glance around the room, and you were off exploring, as is your way. A door opened here, a toy fondled there, your tiny hands (so much bigger than the day you were born, I remind myself) running over the covers of books as you decided which one to pull out. You snarled at me as I tried to catch you in my camera's viewfinder. When the teacher asked everyone to gather on the rug, you were the first there and remained rapt as she read you a puppet-accompanied story. You shouted out the answers to each question your teacher asked. Daddy told me it was time to go. When I arrived to pick you up later in the afternoon, the aide told me you'd been asking for me for the last half hour. Be still my heart!

As much as Daddy and I missed you though, there was one person who missed you more. Your little sister wouldn't show us any affection or speak to us for quite some time when she realized that we were leaving without you. Even a jaunt to a ne'er before visited park with both of her parents all to herself did little to placate her. When we pulled into the garage without her Booboo and Sissy in their respective places, she broke down. The look on her face when she saw the two of you had returned while she was napping... Well, I hope you both remember that. Pure adoration and love.

Yes, you have a wonderful family. A loving family. A close family. An imperfect family. You are blessed.

With all my forever love,

~About the photo: The kids were all too cooperative for those kinds of heart-tugging photo ops that I dreamed of for this day, holding hands on the way into the building, heads held high and not looking back towards me even once... But I just couldn't do it without choking up. So, in the interest of Mommy staying strong, I let those opportunities pass and opted instead for the obligatory pic in front of the school sign.~

No comments: