Have you ever just been standing somewhere and the feeling of absolute certainty comes over you that you are seeing the future? I had an experience like that this morning.
Today was a big day in our house. Noelle is starting in a new preschool classroom today, the 3/4s which, ironically enough, coincided with the first day of school in our state. We have been talking up the switch to the new classroom for a while now; you'll be with your friends again! New toys to play with! New things to learn! More freedom in art projects! So all weekend she has been telling us that she goes to the 3/4 classroom today because she is a Big Girl.
She wakes up this morning literally bouncing out of bed. We have our morning cuddles but she is alert and telling us where she is going today, "I go to 3/4s today Mommy!". She does her morning business and gets dressed with no tantrums. At all. This is, indeed, a watershed moment. I explained to her that we'll go to her new room first and put her things away then go back to her old classroom to wait for her new teacher Ms. Lisa to come get them. Well, we were very late as apparently every idiot in the greater Baltimore area decided that this would be the perfect morning to turn 695 into a parking lot thereby making my (wonderful, sainted) mother-in-law late in getting to the house to watch Noah.
We finally made it to her school and as we were walking down the hall, Ms. Lisa comes out of the classroom going to get the rest of the kids. Since herding 20 or so preschoolers is even more difficult than wrangling cats, she recommended that I bring Noelle back to the other room as it could take a while. We located her cubby and unpacked her lunch then headed back down the hall where the wrangling had taken a record time to perform. Noelle joined the end of the line and we had hugs and kisses and "I love you"s. Then we walked apart, her one way to a new learning experience and I the other to the door and the responsibilities of a job. But I watched her little figure walk down the hall and every few feet she would turn around, wave, smile and blow kisses. I finally stopped and just watched her, waving and smiling back as she reached the classroom door and gave me one last smile, wave and kiss before disappearing inside.
It was then that I shivered, knowing that I was seeing a sequence of events that was happening right then in elementary schools everywhere as mothers took their children to kindergarten for the first time. Knowing that in two years, the scene would play out again for us; her smiling, waving and blowing kisses and me smiling, waving and blowing kisses back to her as she disappeared into her classroom. And, like today, with tears running down my cheeks.