As a mother, there will be many moments of my daughter’s life that will be engraved in my mind. Moments that I’ll never forget. Moments that will come back to me years later, when I’m experiencing yet another milestone in my little girl’s life.
I’ve only been a mother for two and a half years and already my heart is starting its collection of moments that can make me smile or sigh, just like that.
The moment I held E for the first time.
Her first smile.
The first time I heard her laughter.
Her first steps.
Her first fever.
Her first birthday.
The night I told her she couldn’t have breast milk anymore.
The first time she woke up past 6:00 am.
As you can see, since I am still a newbie mom, my list is full of firsts. And today, another “first” was added to this list.
The first time she went to preschool.
Now, it was only for a couple of hours. Just to see if she was a good fit. And she would only go a couple times a week anyway. (I’m actually still trying to decide if I should enroll her or not as I write this.)
Spending time away from me with someone other than family for the first time is a huge step. (Well, at least it felt that way to me.) After all, it makes the list of moments.
I was talking to my sister last night and she told me how she shed a few tears when she dropped her first born off at day camp for the first time. I jokingly replied that I would probably break out in song and dance. (Freedom!!)
But this morning, as I walked down the hall to the preschool holding E’s little hand, there wasn’t a hint of a Broadway musical in my head. It was more a jumble of worry and fear. Would she cry? Would she be scared? Would she miss me?
We walked through the doors and as I began talking to one of the teachers, another teacher approached E and took her hand. E didn’t look back as she was guided into the classroom.
Where was the drama? Where were the tears? (Or a “Bye, Mommy!” at least?)
And I realized. She was ready. So ready.
When I picked her up a couple of hours later, I asked her how she liked preschool.
“Tanoshikatta (I had fun),” she said. “Mommy wa inakatta. Grandma mo Grandpa mo inakatta. Demo hitoride daijobu datta. (Mommy, you weren’t there. Grandma and Grandpa weren’t there either. But I was okay alone.)”
And those words, along with the image of her walking away from me, hand-in-hand with the teacher, will be engraved in my mind as the moment that my little baby became a little girl.