Last night I had the most vivid dream.
I was standing in the apartment we rented for a few months after we first moved to Atlanta, almost six years ago. My oldest daughter was five, and two weeks away from starting Kindergarten at a brand new school.
I was staring at a box of toys– toys she had loved but had worn out completely– wondering whether they were worth keeping. I picked up each toy, turned it around in my hand, then put it back in the box. With a twinge of sadness, I decided to give them away. Because though my daughter had loved them well, she had moved on. The box of toys didn’t fit in her life anymore.
I recently attended my third and final meeting at this same daughter’s middle school. I’ve
gotten lost in toured the 6th grade “pod.” She’s selected her foreign language, and her instrument for orchestra. The next time I’m in the building, it will be early August, a few days before her first day of school. We’ll get her classroom assignments, pick up her textbooks, and place them in her locker.
When we moved down here six years ago, just two weeks before this rising 6th grader started Kindergarten, I hadn’t a clue what these six years of elementary school would be like for her. Other than a bunch of statistics from the internet, I knew virtually nothing about the school. We didn’t have any friends in the area, we knew of no one attending it. We decided to live in the school district based on the gut feeling I had when I visited the school a few days after New Year’s, the day before the school re-opened to students for a new semester. I remember getting a brief tour by the Assistant Principal, then calling my husband from the parking lot. “This is the school,” I said. “This is where I want our kids to go.”
Six years later, my oldest child is on the cusp of graduating from elementary school.
I could not have asked for a better six years of education for her. She has loved attending this school every single day of her life. And though she will miss her wonderful elementary school, she has, I hate to admit, outgrown it. She is ready for something a little different.
She is ready to move on, even if I’m not ready for her to do so.
A few days ago, I was helping out with Field Day for the pre-kindergarten class. My youngest ran around in the gym stacking cups, holding tight to the edge of a parachute, and tossing beanbags into frisbees. She has grown up so much in the past year, and looks nothing like the four year-old who started at the elementary school last August. In two weeks, when her school year ends, she will officially be in Kindergarten.
She will begin on the path that her oldest sister started for her, almost six years ago, searching for markings left behind to help navigate her way through.