We recently went to Kindergarten Parent Orientation for my 4-year old daughter. We filed into the auditorium at her future elementary school and heard about the in’s and out’s of a kindergarten day. The school bus. Snack time. Free play. Reading. Even a short rest time. I left feeling really excited for my daughter. But now I’m a basket case.
I think I’ve always been a little more sensitive to the passage of time than most. I can distinctly remember sitting in my bed bawling on the night I turned thirteen years old. I should have been happy. But I was mourning the end of my childhood. I was mourning what I could never get back.
I feel a little bit like that right now. I remember when I first decided to stay home with my daughter, the dreams I had about the years we had together before she went to school. I hoped for long nature walks, trips to the library, adventures in Strip District markets, long afternoons reading books besides the sunny window in our guest room. Four years later, we’ve had some of those moments. Probably more than I remember now. But I just can’t shake this thought that perhaps it wasn’t good enough for her. For me.
Did I lose my temper too much? Did I let her watch too many movies when I should have been playing with her? Was I too disconnected when I should have been savoring the time I had with her? Is it even possible to send your child off to kindergarten without some regrets?
“Time can do all sorts of things. It’s almost like a magician. It can turn autumn into spring and babies into children, seeds into flowers and tadpoles into frogs, caterpillars into cocoons, and cocoons into butterflies. And life into death. There’s nothing that time can’t do. Except run backwards. That’s its trouble really, it can only go one way.”
― Alex Shearer, The Stolen
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