I thought I was ready for this.
But I'm not.
Since January, we have been talking about this day. Trying to prepare Sophia for what lies ahead. We spent so much time trying to make sure that she was okay that I guess I forgot to think about how I would handle it.
We even put it off an extra year. Last year she was so young and we knew she wasn't ready. I have to admit, I wasn't ready either. I still don't think I am.
As I was leaving for work this morning, Sophia told me she was scared and she needed me. I smiled and gave her a hug, then patted her on the back and told her she was going to have fun. I would be there with her the first day, holding her hand as we walked through the door together.
Keeping my face free off the worry and anxiety that I felt inside, I leaned over to give her a kiss and told her to enjoy her last day at home with her daddy.
Tomorrow is Sophia's first day of kindergarten.
I am not a stay at home mom. Sophia has been in daycare, Montessori school and pre-school for the last six years while I have worked full-time. Yes, she has had her summers free the last few years and she is used to going to a classroom each day. But this time it is different.
She is growing up, starting school for the first time and there will be no going back. No staying home just because she wants to have a fun day with her daddy. No going to daycare with her brother when Trey has an audition.
It is the beginning of making new friends, wearing a school uniform, finding a friend to sit next to in the lunchroom, report cards and school programs.
Too much is changing right now and we both feel it. Last Sunday she started her new class at church and we had to navigate our way up the stairs to her classroom. Surrounded by much older kids, Sophia looked so small to me. I forgot that she is small for her age. She clutched my hand tightly was we asked where her new room was located. Tucked in the corner of the large room was the entrance to her classroom. I watched her as she walked right in, not looking back and putting on her brave face. She hesitated for a moment, then sat down next to another girl in her class. My vision blurred for a second and I quickly turned and walked away before she could see my tears.
When I was putting her to bed one night this week, she told me she wanted to stay six years old and in kindergarten forever. Her fear tugged at my heart and I resisted the urge to tell her I felt the same way. We talked for awhile, me rubbing her back while we lie side by side in her twin bed. Her hair was tickling my nose, which made her giggle. I wonder how much longer she will want me at to do her bedtime. When will she be too old for me to read her a bedtime story, lie next to her in bed or rub her back?
Tonight I give her a bath, dry her hair and help her pick out her outfit for tomorrow. I will read her a book, probably the one about Sister from the Berenstain Bears starting kindergarten. Then I will rub her back while I sing her a song and we talk about our day. Hopefully I can calm the butterflies in my stomach and try to get some sleep.
Because tomorrow is a big day.