Yesterday I took my tiny, premature babies to Kindergarten. I dropped them off, watching with a sense of surreal wonder as these two precious gifts made their way into the building, without me. I wanted to run behind them, calling out, "Wait for me!!". But I didn't. I stood there and watched as those doors closed on one part of their childhood, and they took their first steps into the start of a new adventure.
The road leading up to this day was long and worrisome. When the girls were born, 6 weeks early and after a very problematic and unhealthy pregnancy, I was thrust into the role of "Caregiver To The Very Fragile". That role consumed my life, 24/7. As they blossomed and grew, my role evolved with them. But no matter how it changed, it was still me and them. Everyday. I'm not going to say that it was the easiest thing; there were plenty of days where I pulled out clumps of hair for lack of any down time or "Me Time". But after almost 6 years, it became "My Normal". And I liked it. Letting it go and evolving again will come slowly to me. But it will come. What choice do I have, really?
This moment,standing in the school playground, watching these two miracles walk away from me for the first time ever was inevitable. I see that now. It was the destination of the road I had been traveling on for nearly 6 years, only I didn't realize it. I was so focused on the patch of pavement in my immediate vision, and at times jarred by the pot holes of daily survival, that I didn't get to look that far ahead. I can say, with pride and some tears, that I've enjoyed the scenic by-way through which I've just come. Each stage of their lives has offered a new set of surroundings and experiences that made the journey breathtaking in its beauty. Now, looking around at this new place, I can see how amazing it is. Everyday they'll take a few steps without me. New people. New places. Learning along the way. And each day they'll come back to dutifully report their findings with the excitement that it all holds. My new role will be to listen, with the corresponding awe and wonder that it all deserves.
My heart still skips a beat when I think of them in this phase, and a lump still finds its way into my throat when I dwell on it for too long. But I'm along for the journey with them, ready to step back a bit to let them explore. We've prepared them for this. I think. I hope. Only one way to find out.....
Here we go.