The First Time for the Second Time

My dear daughters,

Once again it is the night before school. I do not know why the summer went by so fast, but it did. I had so much fun hanging out with you both on our adventures.

Your bags are packed, filled with all you need for school. I just want to say that I am proud of both of you so much.

My dear older girl, your reading and writing skills have sharpened so much over summer. You are such a fun kid. I know you will have many new friends in Grade One.

My sweet young one, you are going to preschool again to see if you are ready. Last year, I failed you by not giving you the right skills. Since your diagnosis you have thrived in therapy. You surprise me daily on your accomplishments. You will rock preschool.

As sad as I am to say good-bye to summer, I can’t wait to pick you up from school to hear all about your new adventures.

I love you both so much.

Love,

Mommy

What I Learned this Summer

The date is looming on my calendar. August 31st, the beginning of the Labor Day Long Weekend that signifies the end of summer. It makes me sad, yet happy. This season in particular showed that I know nothing about anything about parenting or life.

Motivated by turning older than my mom, I made plans with the girls to make their summer awesome. Play dates, park trips and more was just the tip of the summer iceberg. I would work when I could. My youngest would have her therapy and the three of us would spend afternoons jetting about. Friends on vacation, illnesses from other play mates and rainy days changed things.

After all the plans falling by the wayside, work and therapy commitments were met and a new plan emerged. No plans meant we made the rules depending on our whims. Reflecting on that today I realize I learned a lot this summer about my girls individually, my mom skills and myself in general. I should not schedule every day of their childhood.

Throwing in the towel when plans fell through was the best thing. When the have-to-dos were done, we were left with many hours to do what we wished to play on our terms. It included: visiting my husband or sister for coffee breaks during their workdays, rotating on which park we wished to go to, lots of backyard time from the pool to trampoline, bookstores, library trips and most of important of all- time together. School years are so busy. We have little time to play just the three of us. I remember many summers like that with my mom.

With all the social and other issues we are working with to help our three-year-old daughter, it melted my heart to see her big sister and her play so much together on playgrounds, trampoline and pools. Never has there been a summer where the two sisters connected in such a deep level. It goes without saying how important sibling time is for them. I am grateful to be here to see it.

I am happy I went with my instinct to take less freelance work. In June I turned down a large job. It hurt at first, but realistically I knew I would not be able to help the client and my kids all together.  As much as I like bills to be paid, I knew that work will always be there. My girls’ time with me will be a memory years from now. That is worth more than anything.

This much I know from my mom is that she would tell me I did the right thing.

I Had To Stop Comparing My Kids

As posted on The Yummy Mummy YMC

Watching my two daughters playing on the playground, it strikes me how different they are. In the early days of my youngest, I would compare her to her older sister. When she wouldn’t hit the milestones like her sister, I worried. I thought there was something wrong.

My oldest daughter didn’t crawl. At one year old, she began running and talking in sentences. Today she acts years older than her five years of age. My youngest crawled at thirteen months and walked at fifteen months. My youngest at almost three years old doesn’t speak much. And when she does speak, it is baby babble. She is like a child of the age of 18 months.

I see my oldest racing around with other kids at the park, squealing with delight. I look over to spy my youngest playing by herself in the sand. She is happy as well doing her own thing. I need to remember this moment.

As we go through the painfully slow process to see if our youngest may be autistic or if she is just globally delayed, I feel that I can’t complain. I have two beautiful daughters. It began to feel like by comparing them, I was judging them. They are precious in their own unique ways. Taking a side-step and just enjoying my girls is freeing.

I ask them both if they are hungry. They race to me. As I dish out the goldfish crackers, I look at them standing side-by-side. I embrace their uniqueness. They’re amazing in their own path.

The First Time I did Something for the Last time

The rain is pounding on the roof so hard I thought it is going to cave in. I then realise it is my heart thumping in my chest at full warp speed. I know it’s time to say good bye. I feel myself go breathless as I tell my youngest daughter’s support worker and teachers that it’s time. They already had their first free play time and circle. All the other moms have left, but me.

All the prep and speech exercises have led to this first time I leave her at pre-school. Every consultant on her team has said it needs to be the time. With a fast exhale, I grab my coat and purse and tell my precious bonus daughter good-bye. “Go have fun”, I say. Her worker is behind her to guide her to another activity. My daughter’s cries slip past the doorway as I close the classroom door.

As I walk around the corner out of sight, I can still feel my daughter’s cries loud in my heart. I lean against the school wall and let the tears go as the rain bounces off the grey sidewalk. I feel so weird , like I am missing a body part. Doubt riddles my brain wondering if this really is the right thing for her. Is this pushing her too hard? My hands will not stop shaking. I text my husband to let him know I did this hard task. I didn’t dare phone him because I knew I would break into a shower  of tears.

The rain stops briefly. I realise I can’t hear my girl crying. I creep low, back around the corner to peer in the window. I know it will be trouble if she sees me.  I spy her. She is smushing paint brushes at the art table. Her support worker is right behind her.  My daughter’s face is clear of any tear drama she may have had on my leaving. I already knew she will be ok.  This proves it.

I walk to the car chanting- left, right, left, right, left, right. I feel so discombobulated as I walk, alone. I am solo for the first time since becoming a mom five years ago. It is the first time for sending my youngest to school, and the last time I will ever take my child to school for the first time.  I am blessed with two daughters. A peace washes over me like a warm sunbeam.

Either of my girls may not remember their tears when I left them at school. I will never forget the first time I stop worrying as a mom for a moment and become excited for them to experience new things. Even if it’s without me, I will be there to collect them both and hear about their days.

Love letter to my girls before school

Dear Daughters, the sequel,

It has been 8 months since I penned a letter to you, so much has changed since early January. You both have grown into beautiful young girls with each in your own way.

My darling oldest daughter, in a few mere days you will hold my hand to take you to your kindergarten class. While you had two years’ experience with pre-school this time it feels harder on me. You are beginning your school journey. I have spent almost 5 years to give you any tools I could. Now it is up to you to go forward. I will be here to pick you up every day. I will hear your stories and guide you with homework. With the new mandate for full-day-kindergarten, for the first time we will not have lunch together. This is what is strange to me. For years I prepped all your meals. I will continue to make your lunches for school exciting. I know you will compare what is in everyone else’s lunch, and will trade or keep what you choose.  I remember those days. I am at a loss of not being with you every day. I am proud of you on the beauty you are inside and out.

My dear bonus younger daughter, you will begin your pre-school journey in days. Because of your social/language delays, you will have a support worker with you. You deserve everything your sister got at your age. I hope you don’t hate me for saying bye when you are in the door of your first school experience. It is not because I don’t love you, I do with all my might. It’s because I know I can’t be everything you need to develop and grow. It is time for us to step forward to help you for a few hours a week, we will not be together. I will pick you up with open arms and soak up the precious time we will have one on one before we pick up your sister. I am so proud of who you are and who you can be.

To my miracle and bonus babies, I am always here for when you need me. I know I have to let go of your hands for a bit to go forth into the beautiful world to learn and experience what I did at your tender ages. While you may not cry when I go, I will be when I walk away from your schools. And I will be there with hugs and an eager ear to hear about your school days.

With all the love from the tip of my head to the tip of my toes,

Love,

Mommy

Preschool Pride

With the beat of the rain on the roof, the crowded room is dark and the screen on the TV is showing the pictures from the year.  My youngest daughter is munching away on her goldfish crackers in her stroller.

Today my oldest daughter graduates from pre-school. Two years ago we entered this room for the first time. Her cries of “Mommy, don’t leave!” still echo in my heart. I walked away that first day feeling like a bad mother. I couldn’t stop crying for leaving her to start her school career.

The lights are back on as the commencement ceremony is about to begin. The room is silent. Then, applause erupts as each student walks across the room to the teacher holding their certificates. My heart stops.

I look at my beauty standing tall, waiting for her cue. The reality of her growing up into this amazing young lady shudders through me. To my surprise my tears are falling, my nose is sniffling. My hand holding the camera begins to shake.

She skips across the room, unlike the walking her classmates were doing. She sits down with her class smiling at the cameras. When the teachers release them, she runs at me with her cap slipping from her head.  We gather our things as she says good bye to her friends.

The three of us cross the doorway onto the now sun- beamed sidewalk. I feel the familiar tears arrive again, yet they feel different.

The walk is filled with knowing my daughter is growing up well.  I am so proud to be her mother.