Three Days

Hannah has three days left at her school.  The place where she has spent minimally three days a week and at most five for the past five years.  Here she learned to walk, talk, read, make friends, be a friend, make a bed, lend a hand, put on a jacket, climb monkey bars, pour milk and draw a face.

Sadly, it was also where she first experienced the pain of a broken leg, and the pain of a broken friendship.  Overcame a speech problem.  Was told her feet smelled.  Told her first lie. Had her feelings hurt. Felt different for being Jewish.  Dealt with severe separation anxiety.

Three days.

Three days to wrap up the end of the beginning of her little life.  To soak in the moments with these first friends.  First hallways. First playgrounds.  Three days to give hugs to kids and teachers that have given her so much of who she is. Friends and teachers that she may not see again but who mean the world to her today.

And I only have three days. Three days with a preschooler. Three days before I have a Kindergartner. Gradeschooler. Middleschooler. Highschooler. Three days of feeling this level of comfort with a school and its philosophy. With the loving arms and minds of teachers. Three days feeling comfortable enough to cry to the director of the school feeling so lost with the phases and stages of my daughter.  Three days to hang around the classroom and playground as long as I want, as if I belong.  Three days not feeling like a helicopter mom or feeling like my daughter is crazy as she cries holding onto my leg not wanting me to leave. Three days feeling secure with the fact that Hannah still goes to school with her elephant and falls asleep at nap time sucking her thumb.

I’m not ready for these three days to end. I’m overflowing with emotion. Reeling from sadness.  Filled with wonder.

Why do I want to hold on so badly.  What is it that makes me want to stop her right HERE?  Push Pause. Stay put.  I complain daily that this stage is so HARD. He little words can be so vicious. And she’s certainly not sad to be moving on.  Why would I want to stay here?

Because these days are in many more ways sweet.  Are easy in comparison to what I’m sure is coming.  Because she looks to me for the answers. She only wants me to help. There’s no bus or bigger kids in older grades to teach her what I’m not ready for her to know.  Because she still wants to hold onto my leg and grab my hand when she’s nervous. She still tells me what’s in her head. What scares her. Why she’s sad.

And I don’t want only three more days of This. I’m not ready to let go of any of her.

I just hope the First Three Days of her next stage are not even harder than these Last Three.

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23 Comments

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23 responses to “Three Days

  1. This was the sweetest thing I have read in a long while. Thank you!

    What a blessing that she is not sad to be moving on – not that it helps you with this all-too-understandable urge to hit the pause button right here and savor it all for just a little longer.

  2. I wonder if you did hit the pause button by writing this post. In many ways, you have memorialized this brief time and can, literally, go back to it, relive it, remember.

  3. There are days where I cannot bear the thought of the future because there will be a very different (not so) little girl standing beside me and its implications – our diminishing roles as parents, especially – are gut-wrenching. Yet, we cherish the first and last three days of each of their stages, feeling so fortunate, so grateful, so honored to be able to witness them.

    This achingly beautiful part of parenthood, chaperoning our children from one stage to the next, is also often the saddest. What can ya do? Other than to continue to push, strive, support, love, love and love.

  4. I didn’t have this experience with my kids until my youngest. Her last day of preschool was hard for me because I loved having a preschooler. So much discovery. So much wonder. So much creation. All the little craft projects that were so beautiful and precious, in a way that also showed growth. I didn’t want to give these up.

    That baby of mine is almost twelve now. I still have a small spot that misses the fingerpaintings. But everything that came afterward was so wonderful. Try not to dread it; there is so much good ahead of you. The joy of real conversations. Watching them learn who they are independent of you. And a little more freedom to rediscover who you are independent of them.

    It’s scary, but it’s wonderful. You’ll do great and so will she. You think she’s amazing now — you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

    • Hi Robin, Thank you so much for this comment. I really needed to read it. The “so much good ahead of you” part. I sometimes worry that the best parts are in my past – but I think you’re right, there’s so much to look forward to moving forward. Thank you Thank you!!!

  5. I feel exactly the same way, Becca. One week ago my Little Miss left, for the very last time, the primary school she happily attended for the past 7 years. I am now the mother of a high schooler. It is all so fleeting, but how special to capture your thoughts this way. New adventures lie in wait, but the transitions can be so hard.

    Christie

    • Thank you Christie. I love reading the comments from moms who have older kids. Ones who have gone through it and have a wiser, more experienced perspective. I should really keep it in mind that there are some great adventures (good AND bad I suppose) ahead of me.

  6. ck

    Save this post for her. Tuck it in the back of her baby book. It is beautiful.

    I felt the very same way a few weeks ago when my daughter graduated preschool. The days leading up to those last few moments felt like late-July humidity. But somehow the morning after brought relief. And now, three weeks later, we’re looking forward to Kindergarten. Not sure how it happened, but it did. I think the build-up is always the hardest.

  7. I feel your anxiety. Since my son was first born, I was always hung up on “time.” Seriously, When he was a month old, I couldn’t read articles on what to expect when he was 4 months. When he was 6 months, I couldn’t read about 8 months. Then he was one. And then he was 3. And then he was 5. At each age, I found myself reassuring myself with things like, “oh, he’s still a baby. He’s not even school age yet.” And all of a sudden, he went from age 5 to age 10…like…overnight. In a couple weeks, he’ll be 11. And THAT, has been my dreaded age – for no reason other than he’s not 10 or under anymore. I wish I understood why I think this way, why it bothers me so much. I have truly enjoyed each age with him – doing activities and field trips and vacations. Yes, gone are the days of simple crafts and stickers at the kitchen table, but only to be replaced with other fun activities like sports or bike rides or water balloon fights. No matter what, keep your children close to you – they won’t “age” as fast. If you let the world get a hold of them too early, they’ll be gone before you know it. 🙂

    • Thank you Toni. I really love reading these sweet comments. Ones that keep it all in perspective for me and give me hope that so much greatness lies ahead of us. It may not be as “sweet” but it certainly will be as special. I will keep them close to me… I hope they’ll let me! Thanks so much for visiting!

  8. Oh, Becca … I feel for you. I know this sensation so well – I hope the next three days are lovely, but I know they will be rimmed with sadness too. For me it’s sometimes easier once the farewell is actually over, as much as I don’t want it to come. Thinking about you and Hannah.
    xo

  9. Nicki

    The next three days will send you reeling but Hannah will be there to anchor you. Then, you will both move on together and she will see kindergarten through those eyes that have never been there and you will live it with her.

    I’ll be thinking of you both the next few days.

  10. Oh, yes, we are definitely of the same mind right now.

  11. That was so sweet, Becca. I’m in the same situation as you… my daughter will start kindergarten in September, and my son will start jr. high school. It is definitely high school that is bothering me more – especially today. The attitude, the privacy, the need for independence, the secrecy… it sucks. But I know it’s a part of growing up and I have to deal with it.

    Both Hannah and my Miss M have been to wonderful preschools where they have grown and learned so much. They are prepared. Ready for the next step. And they will still need us. A LOT. I am a tad bit sad, but also excited to see my little girl start school and see her learn so many other new things and important lessons.

    Great post, Becca, like others have mentioned you should definitely save this for her.

  12. LZ

    You are the sweetest mom I know. Honestly. Enjoy the three days, and enjoy your Summer with her…
    I agree that you need to save this for her, but then again, your whole blog is going to be so special to both of your children.

  13. You made my heart stop, thinking about my son growing up so quickly.

    I think it’s so hard to let go because we know we will never be back in this place again. It’s hard to move on, now knowing what will come. Hold on tight, but let go when you know that it’s time.

  14. This is so lovely, Becca, and so bittersweet. The idea of the “end of the beginning” of her childhood is powerful and poignant. I hope you both enjoy the next three days and the summer ahead.

    xo

  15. The thought of my children growing up eats at me all the time. I want to slow it down, I want to cherish it all, I want to permanently etch their littleness in my brain. But it’s so hard, life is swirling and changing all around us. My oldest starts kindergarten in September too. I ask myself daily, how can that be?

    But Charlotte, from Memories for Later, recently commented in a post of mine, that she doesn’t worry about the past or the future, she doesn’t lose herself in memories of what has come, rather she focuses on what is here and living it with happiness. I think that’s key. Even if it is oh so hard!

  16. Liz

    Ben’s got one more year at his preschool b/c of his birthday (he missed kinder by like a week!). But I don’t know how I’m gonna handle his entering Kinder. And the cap and gown pic for VPK graduation next year? I tear up when I see this year’s kids’ pics! This was a beautiful, sweet post, Becca. And although I, too, do not want to stay “here,” there is certainly a sweetness to here that we know will never be again.

  17. Oh becca. It is hard. So, so hard. And yes, in many ways it gets even more challenging. But there are so many great things ahead. Pausing is okay. Is good in so many, many ways. To stop. And suck it all in. Where she’s been. Where you’ve been. Where you are both going.

    Trust that I know. I have a 3rd grader now. And I cannot CANNOT believe it!

  18. I understand. There is something bittersweet about endings that are so monumental…Just know that with every ending comes a new beginning that can be equally meaningful…Revisit, pause, take mental snapshots, and in the meantime, enjoy that summer!

  19. kim

    First of all, the baby picture, love it!! Secondly, it had me crying cause I remember when she was that little baby. I cannot believe either that she’s leaving Mead already. I’m just happy to be in your life that I’ll be one of those teachers that get to see her. Your posts are great!

  20. I totally understand. I realized the other day that my kiddo is now a 4th grader, which means only 2 years until middle school, and then only 3 years to high school, and then … hyperventilating! The time goes by so fast, no matter how many times you remember to savor it.

    All we can do is reflect and preserve and remember and appreciate the people our little babies are evolving into. It’s a bittersweet blessing.

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