I was tucking my oldest daughter into bed tonight; we said prayers, I tickled her arm, we talked about the events of the day and briefly touched on what we would be doing tomorrow... the usual bedtime stuff.
"We have MOPS tomorrow sweetie."
There was a time, earlier this year, when that would have stirred up a bit of commotion. Earlier this year she did not like going to MOPS. She cried when I dropped her off. She cried so much so that I ended up in tears on one particularly emotionally charged morning when she clung to my neck like I was leaving her for years instead of hours and cried crocodile tears for all onlookers to see.
I snarffled and sniffled my way through a conversation with the head childcare worker as she diplomatically tried to tell me that it was not in my daughter's best interest to stay in the room with the 2 year olds (where her sister was and she wanted to be) and stared at me with a look that said, "No wonder your daughter is so emotional."
(My only saving grace is that my 2-year-old is so tough that we joke that she just might be a linebacker or a drill sergeant some day. No joke. Her presence in my life is what reminds me that while some of our children's characteristics are the inevitable result of our own personalities and nurture, others are simply God given personality traits completely independent of any of my influence. THANK. GOODNESS.)
All that said, Ava, my oldest has come a l-o-n-g way in just a few months. She bounds into her classroom at MOPS these days, comes home singing songs and hugs every one of her teachers on the way out with a huge, light up the room kind of smile.
So, it was with some sadness, that the next words I said to Ava as I put her to bed were, "Yup. And you know what? It's your last one?"
"Well...yes. You'll be in school next year and won't have to come with me."
"Awwwww," she said as she stuck her lower lip out in a mock pout.
"I know," I grinned and gave her a big hug. "You'll have a great time in school though!"
As I walked out of her room I immediately considered our brief conversation.
How had that happened so fast? How could this be the last time she will go to MOPS with me?
I know all of you older moms are laughing hysterically at me right now. I know that this blog post rings FULL of the sentimental mush that accompanies first-time moms feeding their babies peas for the first time and thinking it is the most monumental moment in the universe.
I know. I know.
I just didn't know it would all happened so fast. SO fast.
I still recall those first months after Ava was born. We lived in Central, Massachusetts and I was struggling emotionally. Call it post-partum depression, or shock, or adjustment to a major life change-- whatever you will, but I was on the verge of tears all. the time.
Ava would have been about four months old when I attended my first Mom to Mom meetings there. She cried when I dropped her off at the nursery. I cried when I dropped her off at the nursery. (Things haven't changed much, have they?!).
At one of the early fall meetings I finally got there (late), and dropped her off in the nursery (late), and snuck in the back door to the meeting (late), I remember sitting down staring at all of the other moms thinking how in heavens name did they get there (on time!), get their kids dropped off (on time), find a seat and look so nicely polished and put together. I was tired, sweaty, my hair was greasy and I was frankly on the verge of constant tears.
Oh how far we have all come.
My dear sweet girl will be 5 next month. 5!
She will have 5 years experience in this thing called life...and I will have 5 years of experience in this thing called motherhood.
We are on the verge of SO many firsts...we are on the verge of many lasts...firsts and lasts, firsts and lasts...the cadence of life as a parent.
She rode her bike without training wheels for the first time several weeks ago. The last day of preschool is right around the corner. She's hoping to ride some of the bigger amusement park rides for the first time this year. These are the last few months where she'll be home with me to play till her heart's content with whatever she fancies all day long.
It's as this poem says...