Thursday, September 04, 2008

Same but Different

Yesterday was the first day of Uber-Princess's second year of preschool. I expected it to be the same-old, same-old, even though I told her to expect it to be different. It was different. She was in the same room with one of the same teachers as last year and a few of the same kids. But instead of sixteen kids and two teachers there were only eight kids and one teacher. Smaller, quieter. No long hug goodbye this year, just a little wave. Instead of skipping out to my car without looking back, I shuffled slowly with many little glances over my shoulder. For a couple of hours I was going to miss my little princess.

The trip to Panera felt the same but different too. Different day, different crowd. Ah, but the red-haired retired man in his neat polo, khaki shorts and loafers was there as usual. The cinnamon bagel tasted the same, but cost more. My regular spot was open, but I went to a table next to an outlet for the first time instead. This year I reveled in the bittersweet taste of freedom, but only briefly, before setting to my tasks.

Last year I was a mom new to those hours without children. I felt like I would get lost in the expanse of free time. Now I know all too well the tightness of their boundaries. I am familiar with where they end. Like many moms, that first year I moved more into the space than would fit. This year it's still cramped and crowded, but I can make my way around to what I need. I see that the space has expanded - just a little. And I wonder if it's enough to move in the things outside the door yet. Or must they wait for next year?

A few hours later, I leave my space, my heart a little lighter. I go back to collect my little princess who grabs my hand tight and looks intently into my face as she shows me the baby dolls and dress-up clothes in her classroom. I pick her up and carry her out of the room, enjoying the little hands wrapped around my neck. I savor being with her. And later that evening as her father tells how she ran out to tell him in a breathy voice that "Keeevvvinn" was in her class again, I chuckle. Already the space is becoming more comfortable again - different, but comfortable.

2 musings:

everydayMOM said...

Your post almost made me cry! I can so relate. All of those "firsts" are so different when you are experiencing them with your last. You realize that soon those moments of freedom you once longed for will be yours. And it makes you savor the times together.

Llama Momma said...

so well said!