I’m 33, but I feel like I’m 23. I don’t know why, but when people ask how old I am I always begin to respond with … 23. And then I realise that I’m in fact a decade older and not quite as youthful as I think I am.
I also still feel like Lacey is a toddler, not even a preschooler. And I’m failing to believe that she’s about to be a ‘kid’. Like, full-blown growing-up-child. I’m not sure what the official title is, but it’s that age between preschooler and pre-teen.
Last Friday Lacey had her last official day of preschool. I feel like I haven’t been around as much per usual, at the school, with having a little baby to look after. Hubby has been chipping in as much as possible. But this last week I wanted to do the drop-offs and pick-ups as much as possible. And each afternoon as I drove down to pick her up, I had to hold back the tears, with that big lump in my throat making things uncomfortable.
Preschool is that beautiful place where the little people are nurtured, art and craft is on the daily agenda. It’s that place where the teachers entertain your every pathetic anxiety and concern, and cry when they see off the children at the end of the year.
Yesterday Lacey graduated. She went inside the school while the parents eagerly sat outside with our cameras at the ready, and one-by-one they emerged wearing a black gown and cap. It was like they’d aged a year in that short moment. I didn’t cry. I could feel the tears welling, but instead I positioned myself for the photo and cheered her on.
I did cry when I said goodbye to the teachers. I couldn’t have dreamed of a better preschool experience for Lacey. We hit the jackpot.
Yesterday I truly realised how grown-up my little girl is. Is it normal to not grasp this time-passing-by business? I realised that soon she’ll be forming all her sentences properly and not mixing up words in that cute way she does, like accidentally calling tinsel ‘fizzle’ every single time. A lump formed in my throat and I wondered if I should have read to her more, played more often and enjoyed her for longer. Perhaps I should have worked less, stopped being so bossy and busy, and you know, cleaned less.
Don’t get me wrong, there were days when I couldn’t wait to get her to preschool, and there were so many of them. Tuesdays, the days before preschool, were the hardest when she seemed to push every single button I had. She has an innate ability, like most kids, to be able to turn the house upside down and inside out in record time. I don’t possess the ability to turn is right-side up and right-side out in record time though. It always seems to take longer.
Each Saturday Lacey and I go to the markets, and I love our time together. We turn the radio up loud, sing badly and taste-test the fruits at the fruit & vegetable stand. If we’ve got enough time we’ll eat breakfast while listening to the band. There will come a day soon, I guess, where doing that will be daggy. When she’ll beg me not to sing, and when she’d rather sleep-in than come market shopping with me. I know we’re hopefully years away from those days, but I’m aware they’re around the corner.
Yesterday, one door closed. My
baby girl left the world of finger painting, and she emerged a big girl, ready to embark on big school and a life of uniforms and home readers. Next year she’ll open a new door, and I can’t promise I won’t cry. But I can promise I’ll be wearing big black sunglasses to hide the tears.
This mama gig is an emotional one, right?