Yesterday I dropped my little girl off for her first day of school. Her very first day. As we walked together toward our destination, hand in hand, I asked her, "So what can you think about when you're at school and I'm at home working?" She answered confidently, "our invisible string"*. "Yes!" I said, "And don't forget about the rainbow that goes from my heart to yours".* We contemplated out loud what she might do on her first day, our conversation was filled with lots of unanswered questions, lots of unknowns. We know that lots of unknowns simply means that an adventure awaits. I told her how excited I was for her, and that I would be so excited to see her at the end of the day and to hear all about it. When I left her she was drawing in her new classroom. We kissed, both of us quiet & courageous. I saw her pick up a pale pink pencil and draw a small circle in the top left corner of the paper, and then with the same pencil, begin to colour it in.
As I walked home, feeling emotion course through my body, I saw her as a baby in my memory: Swaddled, snug and safe in her cotton wrap like a caterpillar in its cocoon falling asleep in my arms. I only now fully grasp the meaning of the words spoken to me by the many wonderful wise souls who crossed our path in those early days. They would smile at me and my baby and say, "precious and fleeting times, enjoy this moment". And I did, I did enjoy those many moments. And naturally yearned for the frustrating, helpless and hopeless moments to hurry up and pass as sleep deprivation took hold week in and week out.
Although five years on as parents we both feel we are still catching up on sleep, and there are still frustrating and hopeless moments...it feels so different now. And being only at the beginning of this part of the journey, I'm just catching glimpses of how it will be different. I understand it's still precious and fleeting - oh to see those little ones in their uniforms, the little fish in the big sea! - as is every moment in life we connect with others: precious and fleeting.
In the afternoon as I walked to meet her, I thought about how proud and filled with wonder I was to see her brush her teeth all by herself with such gusto that morning. I realised she is so ready for this, and I am happy for her.
When I picked her up, she was tired but beaming. She showed me the picture she drew that morning at school, her very first drawing at school. Starting with that small pink circle in the top left corner, she had filled every part of the paper. It was our rainbow.
*These are in reference to two books we love and have been so helpful in dealing with separation anxiety. I'll be talking about them in my next newsletter, which will be sent out early next week...