On Thursday I attended the kindergarten orientation where Anna – my firstborn, my first baby – will be going to school in the fall. There were several times I nearly cried. Anna was with me, and I marveled over how someone can seem so “big” and yet so “little” all at the same time. She is very excited about her “new school” and had fun with Ms. Judy (whom we already know personally) – listening to a story and making a paper bag puppet while I listened to the presentations by teachers and staff. Anna was impressed by how artistic the school appeared, with student work and projects on display throughout. I was impressed by the teachers and principal as they spoke of challenging every student no matter at what level they are (I have wondered if Anna will be bored in kindergarten after the great preschool she has attended).
But just being in the school cafeteria reminded me of my early days of elementary school – happy memories, but a level of independence Anna has not yet known. Is she really ready for this? In my head I am confident that she is and she will do great; but in my heart it is harder to watch her stretch her wings and move farther beyond me. What if someone is mean to her (as one day someone is sure to be)? What if something unpleasant happens (as is a normal part of life)? Anna is cautious and sensitive like me, only stronger than I was at her age. She will be fine. I know it. But it is so hard to let go, if even just a little bit at a time.