The Life of Bon: August 2019

Sunday, August 25, 2019

My Baby Starts School Tomorrow

My baby starts school tomorrow.

All day long she has packed and repacked her backpack, practiced drawing letters on lined paper, made pictures and drawings for her new teacher.  She is ready.  Nervous and excited, confident in the year ahead.

It is all going so fast.  I can't catch my breath.  I just had her.  It was yesterday that the doctors tried to flip that stubborn breech baby in my belly and when she wouldn't do it cut me open and yanked her out. It was last night that I watched her sleeping in that clear plastic box beside my hospital bed.  Five pounds twelve ounces of perfection.  Held her naked body against my naked chest, skin to skin, taught her how to breast feed, watched in awe as she clenched her little figures into a fist, marveled marveled marveled at the perfect teeny tiny fingernails. It was this morning that she learned to walk, unsteady steps, looking to me for guidance, plopping down on her diapered bum.

Now she is five.  Entering a school that in 13 years she'll walk out with a degree in hand.

My job as a parent is to essentially put myself out of a job as a parent.  To allow her and teach her to do it all on her own. To let her learn to be her.   But what if I never want to be put out of this job?  What if I want to parent and hover and helicopter until the day I die?

There's so much about her babyhood and toddlerhood that I don't even remember.  The trauma of trying to save a troubled marriage.  The fights the video games the cancer the jewelry the lesson plans the tears the divorce the healing the how can I save this family the how can I save myself?  Those are my memories of the past five years.  Not what foods she liked and didn't like, or her first words or what her favorite books were.  These things my brain can not remember.

I remember how my heart contracted and writhed when I met her the first time.  How Greg placed her in my arms and I wept and thought "Oh my gosh I missed you."  How I felt I was being reunited with a best friend after too much time apart.  How I wanted to hold her and protect her and never let her go.  The strongest love I've ever felt in my life, how my emotions overtook my body.

I remember that.

Hugh and I will be lonely tomorrow when she goes.  Her first step away from The Three of Us.  We are a tribe.  A unit.  One of us is starting to leave the unit.  The other will soon follow.

How does anyone raise children?  How can anyone endure the complete heartbreak of watching your babies grow?