Monday, August 18, 2008

To Emma, Love Mom- First Day of Kindergarten

Last night, I was preparing Emma's lunch for our big milestone today and as I was attempting to cut the most perfect heart out of a sandwich with a cookie cutter, I began to think about my friend Julie….

A little over two years ago, Julie had a baby prematurely. Jaden was born 8 weeks early. Julie just happened to be visiting her mother near Pittsburgh when she started having complications. She called and said that they were moving her from the small town hospital in her hometown to a larger one with a NICU in Pittsburgh and that there was a possibility that a cesarean would have to be performed. I called the next morning and she seemed quite dazed and she reported that a c-section had been done and she had become a mother of two, significantly earlier than they had anticipated.

I am so happy to tell you that Jaden is now a very active, thriving two year old. But during the first days and then weeks after he was born, as a friend, I felt helpless as I listened to Julie’s feelings of helplessness. First, I will say that I marveled at how well she held it together so that she could do all that she could to help Jaden. She was strong but there was stress, and tears… lots of tears. She couldn’t hold him, she couldn’t feed him, but she could pump milk to be fed to him through an IV. So she clung to the one thing that she could do. She pumped and she took milk to the hospital for many, many days.

Later, she told me that she wrote on the milk bags, "To Jaden, Love Mom". She explained to me that all though nurses were taking care of him and she couldn’t, she needed them to know that she was his mother…. 

Now I am not trying to equate something that most mothers do (taking their children to Kindergarten) with something as traumatic as having a baby prematurely. But, last night, as I was preparing to send Emma off to Kindergarten, I found myself desperately trying to find a way to let these people know that I was not only leaving a student with them, but that they were also going to be taking care of someone’s heart; my heart. At that moment, I became all too aware that this is the beginning of letting her go. I feel like in many ways, this is the day I have been preparing for since the day she was born. I have always known that the day was going to come where she would spend more of her waking hours with someone else than she does with me. I pray that we’ve packed enough love and guidance in.. I pray that somehow in the best understanding that a five year old can have, she understands how proud I am to be her mother, that God trusted me with her. And, as she goes out into the world, that she remembers that even more importantly than belonging to her daddy and me, she belongs to God.

So, I fashioned a heart out of sandwich, and stuck in our family picture with a note that said, “We love you” in her lunch box. I questioned if I was giving her enough to eat and listened to Adam laugh as he told me she had never eaten that much food in one day much less one meal. I ironed her dress and fixed her hair. I took the pictures and walked her to her class. I made sure she looked me in the eyes as I told her she was not to leave that afternoon with anyone but me. She quickly got busy with a project that the teacher had given her. And after one last picture, I gave her a kiss and turned and walked out the door into the next chapter of our life. Adam and I said all the things that parents say… That time has gone so quickly. That we will blink and be sending her off to college and then with her husband. And, I know that the only thing I can do is ask God to help us guide her and try desperately to cherish each moment along the way.

Please excuse the drama. This is a very traumatic time for me. I’m not even going to go into how frightening it is to me to think of when Chloe goes off to school (I know it sounds like I’m talking about sending my kids off to college, I’m still talking about Kindergarten here) and I don’t have a child at all during the day but I guess there’s no sense in agonizing over that until we get to that point. Post on that coming sooner than I want to believe….

So now that you’ve patiently indulged me and read about my near emotional breakdown, I’ll tell you how it went.

Emma did great. Last night, I was teasing her and pretend crying and told her that I couldn’t do it and I thought we should keep her home for another year. She reassured me by telling me that she was excited but would miss me and that it wasn’t like she would never have a day off. There was a brief moment in the car where she told me that she was excited but a little scared. But we got to the school and she sported the confidence that she has become quite famous for and barely even noticed when I left. When I picked her up, she informed me that her card was on white all day and explained that that was where it was good to be. She exclaimed that she loved Kindergarten and that she thought it was going to be a wonderful year..

And I thanked God that this is only traumatic because I’m by nature a basket case and not because any actual trauma occurred.



Adam said...

I love you Dana. God gave our girls an incredible gift when He gave them you as their mother. I got all weepy too, especially after you left with her this morning...but I am so optimistic about our girls...
because they remind me of you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dana,
I am feeling your pain. I cried myself to sleep last night. We need to chat and comfort each other. Emma is such a beautiful little girl. I am so happy that she had a wonderful first day! Love you!! Call Me! I have one more week before Kaden starts.

Mandy said...

Aw, Dana! I am so glad she had a good day today. If it helps, I thought of you a lot today. I felt like a fish out of water not being there at that school! I even woke up at 6:50 with a if I was supposed to be there! Talk about scared to death! If I was there, I totally would have checked on her for you. :)

Time flies so fast. Our kids are growing up so fast. There are days I just want time to stand still. Your post made me cry. Hang in there.

Lu said...

I thought about you and prayed for you and Emma all day. I gotta tell you- that was a fantastic post! I say that a lot, but my goodness...I've got tears running down my cheeks!!! :) It was just a precious, precious thing and oh! so true about our hearts! I know its only preschool for Chandler, but my goodness, I feel as though I'm leaving apart of myself in that little church and I'm missing out on those moments!!! Anyway... yes, its a step in letting them go! I'm glad y'all made it through the day!!!

Tony and Susan said...

ok...i've cried like 14 different times today for my many friends who have "babies" going off to kindergarten and then almost start to hypervenilate when i think about my babies doing that. i cried enough knowing they were going to daycare today. i think that story about the nicu was a good parallel. glad you survived emma's first day of kindergarten! love you!

Tony and Susan said...

ps. thanks for making me cry yet again adam! that was very sweet!

The Tyree Family said...

Awww...I was so touched by what you wrote and I held it together because I was sort of prepared for it after our conversation yesterday. but what I wasn't prepared for was Adam's comment as soon as the comment page opened up - how sweet is he?? that made me tear up! Your post was beautifully written and I'm nervous about all of those feelings coming to me in just one week...

becky said...

holy cow! yall are killing me here! ok...i'll make it worse...go buy "the kissing hand" and read it to her. i squalled. and when i say squalled, i mean blubbered like a baby.

JAY said...

My Best friend told me that she doesn't get why I have been so emotional about this.. I mean, she has gone to "preschool" before. But this is/has been differnt. I don't have a way with words like you do, so I am going to copy one of those paragraphs so she can read it.

I think Emma looked beautiful on her first day of school, and I cried the whole time I read this post. Like you said, i can't believe how quickly time has flown. I have a picture of Sarah Jane and Emma when they were just 3 and 9 months old... and I remember every detail of that day like it was yesterday, in my head it sort of is. I feel a bit like I have missed out on something, maybe that I didn't cherish her "baby-dom" enough... even though i was right there all along. Sarah Jane told my my mom that she loved her new school... and that she didn't have to cry, because I did. :) Anyway, I know exactly what you mean, and I am feeling it right now just like you are. I still haven't been able to wrap my brain around it.

JAY said...

Oh, and Yeah... I cried the whole time I read that, then cried again when I read what Adam wrote. Geez.

Michael and Hannah said...

Kindergarten must really be traumatic for moms, because I have several friends blogging about this! Oh, and Adam's comment made me cry too.

Tina and Jim said...


The pictures were wonderful. Speaking as a mother of grown children and now entering "another" stage in my life, you will continue to have these moments of "finding ways" to have others see how precious your gift(s) from God are to you. They will do fine because you and Adam are instilling a confidence in the girls that is not found anywhere, except through Our Comforter, Keeper, and Savior.

Tears came to my eyes as well. It reminded me of the first day of school for both Matt and Megan.

In the beginning of November we will be in another transition..parents of the bride! Talk about trauma. :-D Seriously, we are SO blessed and love our future son-in-love, but all the feelings you have when you are taking your child to kindergarten resurface with "all the upcoming events" throughout your children's lives.

You are doing great!

In His love,


Keith said...

I love you all. I was reminded of dropping Adam off his first day at the "little Bigtop school" in Troy many years ago. When Nana and I talked with Emma last night on the phone she told told us "I was hoping I could talk to you till I have to go to bed." She makes my heart smile.


Stephanie said...

I almost cryed, now I know I'm filled to my eyeballs with all kinds of crazy hormones right now but I hit fast forward in my mind to about 5 years from now and felt your agony. I still think I'm scared to death to have a little girl. I would've had more peace of mind to have a little boy. I guess Thad terrorized too many girls growing up and this is just God's way of getting even=)~
Love and miss you guys like always!

Jana said...

I can't read your blogs Dana...I don't like to cry (j/k)...seriously, a tear-jerker, that was really good...You are an awesome mom! It also made me feel a little guilty that I didn't do a heart sandwich for Jacob :(

Lorry said...

Dana and Adam,
I remember looking over in church and seeing you and Adam adoring your precious little girls and I so many times held back tears thinking about how blessed they were to have parents like you.I think it's awesome that you get it! You won't look back and wish you'd spent more time with your kids like so many parents do. You are really living the moments that count!It makes me feel not quite so OCD about my kids. Mine are all adults but you never stop being a mom or Dad (for that matter) no matter how old they are. I really miss you guys. Sometimes I look over and expect to see you smiling Dana.


Supabloggasuprememama said...

BLESS YOU AND YOUR SWEET FAMILY!!! You are not being dramatic at all. I would have cried my eyes out. this is such a sweet sweet post. I am glad things are going well. this must be so so hard! I already dread taking aiden to preschool! definitely praying for you guys!!!