Last night I had a parents' meeting with my daughter Annabel's Pre-K teachers. It was your basic info session where they went over what to expect and we had time to ask questions. I recognized several parents from last year's class, but there were a few new faces. After the meeting was over, most of the parents filed out, but there were a few who lingered, clearly wanting some one-on-one time with the lead teacher. I hung back as well, as I had forgotten to fill out part of Annabel's info sheet.
I was engrossed in the form I was writing on when I suddenly realized there was a person crying. One of the moms I didn't recognize was really sad about her child starting school. The teacher was comforting her when I glanced up to see what was going on. Crying Mom looked around the room at all of us and said, "Isn't this so hard?!" As the other parents started agreeing with her, I quickly looked back down at my form. My heart really went out to Crying Mom (she was just so sad!), and I didn't begrudge her her feelings at all, but it's not hard for me to send Annabel to school. Not even a little bit.
Annabel loves school. She loves being with friends, loves learning, and above all, loves being independent. She's a child who thrives on routine, social situations, and new experiences. She's happy at school, so I am happy that she's at school.
Beyond that, Annabel and I have the kind of mother/daughter relationship where our time together is better because of our time apart. Our personalities are just too similar, and if you leave us together all day, every day, bad things will happen. For a few hours three days a week, we'll get some separation from each other, and it's so good for us! We'll have more patience for each other, and as Annie learns better communication skills from her teachers, our trouble spots will be fewer and farther between.
I once told another parent how I felt about Annie being in school and she looked at me like I had two heads. "I miss my children the entire time they're gone. I love spending time with them." That's awesome for her (seriously), but I don't feel that way. I love spending time with her, but I don't miss Annie when she's at school. I'm happy to see her when I pick her up, and I adore hearing her stories about her friends and what she learned, but I don't spend the entire time she's gone counting the minutes until those moments. I wouldn't want her to do that, either.
My Facebook feed over the last few weeks leads me to think that I'm in the minority here, but that's OK. It's cool if you do miss your kids, and it's absolutely fine and normal to have a hard time sending them off. But I refuse to feel bad about not having a hard time. I'm excited! I'm excited about the growth this year has in store for Annie, I'm looking forward to her making more friends, and I'm thrilled that she's going to be happy.
School starts next week. We can't wait!
Read more from Heather on The Spohrs Are Multiplying.