I had a very interesting moment yesterday.
It was "meet the teacher" open house at Lily's preschool. It occurred to me as we were driving there that I will be doing this for about the next 16 years. A tradition of sorts, along with school supply shopping (which I LOVED as a kid. There was nothing like a new Trapper Keeper with crisp new folders), and eventually there will be school clothes shopping. It felt strange to me that we are beginning this tradition so soon. She's 2, not 5. It made me feel almost guilty as though I am rushing her into being a grown up kid already.
But that wasn't the moment I'm talking about, exactly.
When we arrived at her school, it was abuzz with parents, siblings, grandparents, teachers, etc. Smiling faces everywhere and a lot of "getting to know you" talk throughout the hallways. We walked into her new classroom, twice the size of last year's class, adorned with so many toys and things to distract even the shiest of kids away from their parents.
We met "Miss Liz", as Lily clung to my hip, clutching my shirt, barely whispering a "hello" to Liz. "She's so shy", I say. I question myself after I said it because I almost sounded...smug. As in, "Heh, she NEEEEEEDSSS me". I surprised myself because usually I'm a bit embarrassed by Lily's shyness and I want her to interact and show some independence. But in this moment, it felt amazing to be needed.
Then, all of the sudden, Lily turns her head and sees a HUGE play kitchen with boxes full of play food.
"MOMMY, MOMMY, LOOOOOK!!!", as she squirms to get out of my arms. I put her down and she trots over to the "kitchen" area, about 10 feet away from me. I immediately follow her, get down on my knees and start to play with her. I then looked around and noticed that we are the only ones not interacting with the others. Story of my life. I have always leaned towards anti-social, especially with unfamiliar people. "Nope. I can't do this to her", I think to myself.
Reluctantly, I get up and force myself to move back across the room to introduce myself to some of these other moms and chat with the teacher.
"I'll be right over here, Lily". She barely gives me a glance.
Very few of these women are overly friendly and don't seem interested in conversation with me (see? Anti-social.), so I walk over to the snack and milk sign up sheets, even further away from Lily, near the exit door. I notice Lily is keeping her eye on me but not overly concerned. She looked up after a few minutes and said, "Bye, mommy! Check ya later, dude! (something her dad taught her)". She thought I was leaving her for her regular school day.
This was my interesting moment.
I suddenly wanted to cry. For a lot of reasons. I realized, right there in this moment, she will not need me for much longer like she does now. She's already gained so much independence in 2 short years. This time is going too fast. She won't be cute and little for long. She will be going to Kindergarten soon. She will be a teenager after that and omg I cannot handle the thought of talking about birth control, drugs, and having the "I FUCKING HATE YOUs" yelled in my direction. THIS IS ALL JUST HAPPENING TOO FAST!!!
Yep, all of that went through my mind.
And since that moment yesterday, I have paid extra attention to every little sweet, and not so sweet, nuance about Lily. I have taken several mental pictures and notes. I have tried to just be in the moment, which is not a skill that I've perfected but I am diligently trying.
When she was a newborn, I couldn't wait for this age of more interaction, language, and independence. Now I want time to freeze. Right now. Let me just soak all of this in and never let myself forget what she's like at this age.
When it was time to leave school and we had neared outstayed our welcome, I went to pick Lily up and said, "Time to go, baby. Let's go to Target", and she says, "No, mommy. I wanna play here!". My heart sank a little more.
So, like any good parent would do, I bribed her and told her that there is a Curious George waiting for her at Target. Is that considered "spoiling"??? Don't answer that.