Maternal Choices: why do I feel so guilty?

I hold my four-year-old’s hand and my other hand is pushing the stroller her younger sister is in. The new school
Barbie backpack is sitting on my proud girl’s back. We are off to see her kindergarten class. I am excited for her. All summer we talked about how much
fun it will be. She has two years of preschool under her belt so this will be a
cinch. Or will it?

Luckily we already found out that
she is in a class with two friends. She loves the idea of new toys and art projects. Her teacher seems nice. I have been with her most of her almost five
years of life. I have done what I know, which was very little, on what tools to give her for school. I am confident she will do well.

This time it is so different than the few mornings at preschool. She will be finished the gradual entry and be at
school all day starting next week. For the first time, we will not have lunch together. I will still prepare it but will not sit beside her. This is what
feels odd to me. I know not everyone chooses pre-school for their children and kindergarten isn’t mandatory in this province. Why am I so torn about saying
bye at the door? Moms are not allowed to even go in to help their kids. She
doesn’t even want me too.

We get to the door and she lets my
hand go to line-up with the other kids. My heart is in my throat. When the door
opens and her teacher is there to let them in, I want to cry. I say good-bye to
her in a quick hug. She says her byes, and without a look back she goes into
the classroom. Just like that she is off. I stroll away and the feeling of guilt-did
I do everything for her that I can? – dissipates. A whole new feeling of joy
sweeps across my once sad heart. I get to have time with my youngest, just the
two of us. Her sister had me alone for her first two years. Now it is her time.

Is it wrong that I am looking
forward to spending precious time with my two-year-old daughter? At the same
time I will be looking forward to hearing my oldest tell stories after school. I
guess my instincts are right. Guilt will never go away completely. A new set of
guilt soup will always be waiting.

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