Bucket Day

Today Joan and Kate had their last day of preschool for the year. Since it’s a Montessori style school- with the focus on self-reliance, they had to bring buckets and sponges to clean the classroom. (20 kids with buckets full of water- this is pretty much my worse nightmare. That is, if I was getting enough sleep to have nightmares, which I’m not.) This is the kids’ favorite day; my girls have been talking about it for weeks. But taking our “last day of school” photo this morning, I was suddenly so sad. Suddenly, I could see it- the school years slipping by so fast that in 2 weeks I’ll wake up and have teenagers. And I am definitely not ready for the female hormone attack on our lifestyle. Plus we need to add a bathroom before then.

And our lives are already defined by the school year? David and I have been living oblivious to starting and ending of school since I graduated from college in ’98. We don’t have school age kids yet. I still skip that section of “Ages and Stages” in my parenting magazine. Yet here we are, talking to the girls about “next fall” and thumbing the ads wondering when the school supplies go on sale. (Swim suits hit the rack- in our VERY cold climate- in January (WTF?), so we figure we better pay attention, or we’ll miss our window.) I guess I just expected a few more years before thinking about these things.

On the other hand, the Beginning of Kindergarten will be great for so many reasons. Kindergartners are so cool! And we’ll be able to do so many more fun things the older the kids get! And then there’s the beauty of public education- we no longer will have to sell our body parts to pay for them to go to school! The girls have one more year of preschool, in which I’ll alternately pine over them getting older and long for them to be in school all day. See, I’m processing this all now, so I figure by the time Kindergarten rolls around, I’ll be ready.

But today? I wasn’t ready for them to have polished off their first “school year” so quickly. When preschool started last fall, I was still pregnant with Marin. Marin was still a fetus. Now she’s a juicy, roly-poly, pulling-up-to-things-and-standing member of our family.

Hokey smokes, am I the only mom out there that cannot decide how she feels about the children growing up? I mourn it, cheer for it, hate it, love it, long for it… Grow up and show me who you will become! No, wait, stay little, sit on my lap forever! Crawl already damnit, and start getting some sleep! But wait, no, what happened to my sweet newborn? I miss those beady newborn eyes and that peely newborn skin! Sometimes I think I must have something diagnosable- Is there a pill available that I could take, you know to clarify these things? Please tell me yes.

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