Week 30 | Arrive Early

This week, your Project 52 : Stay Awake challenge is pretty simple: arrive early.  Plan to be early.  And, when you are there, waiting around, notice what's happening.  When you get wherever you need to be, notice what you see, hear, smell, taste and feel.  Watch as your children enjoy the moment not rushing as well.

-Shawn @ AA/P52

I've realized as I've gotten older, and a bit more established in this parenting thing, that I have to plan more than before.  The sense of entitlement that came with the attitude that "I should be able to spend my time how I want to spend it" has given way to, "I should really get to bed now so I don't start the week off wrong" and even, occasionally, "Maybe I'll get up now and start the day while the girls are still sleeping". 

How I was "spending my time" was on things that were not really productive anyway--watching uninspiring TV, mindlessly surfing the net, pinning things haphazardly on Pinterest, checking my phone for new Instagram pics every two minutes -- and usually until way too late at night.  This is how I felt like I had some control in my day.  And yet, for what purpose?  That control I was allowing myself to feel paved the way to grumpy mornings, haste-filled reactions, frustrating dinner routines and a self-inflicted drained mother. 

Now-a-days, I feel my best when I stick to some sort of routine, because then I can schedule in "my time" and time to get everything done without feeling like I'm being robbed of something.  It's not to say that I don't stay up too late some nights, or that I don't sleep in every now and then, or that I don't find inspiration on Pinterest or in others' blogs and writings.   But now that I know and can feel the difference when I'm more diligent and take more responsibility with my time, I sure notice when I don't.  

{Though this prompt was designed for the week prior, I decided to wait until one of mine was heading to school, to put the prompt to test.  It was the *perfect* reminder. }


I'm not sure if it's that the baby of the family will always feel "too young", or if it's just too easy to forget the older one was this young too…but my youngest started her first day of Preschool last week.  

We got up early.  I allowed for enough time for her to carefully match the teal in her shirt with the teal in her shorts, because the pink of her shirt didn't match the pink in the skirt, and the shoes were a whole different story.  We had breakfast, we took our time saying good-bye to big sis and beloved babysitter, and we left early.  We weren't the only ones eagerly arriving full of contained kinetic emotion.  

I studied the confidence in her walk as she headed up the sidewalk.  I felt the butterflies double in my stomach as we got closer to the door.  I tasted the bittersweet flavor of pride and disbelief as I took her picture, the one above: Is she old enough to know how to pose like this?  Is she really old enough to be in preschool?  But it was as if the camera was showing me the picture of a girl who was more than ready;  it was the foreshadowing that the butterflies in my stomach would have found solace in, if they could trust what they were seeing.  But my worry for how she'd handle my departure fueled the butterfly furry that I created and yet was trying so hard to control at the same time.  

I watched her go straight into the room, to the familiar toys that she had been watching her sister play with for two years.  I  felt her excitement as the teacher pulled out the bunny, Mr. Cladwell, from his cage and the actuality of what we had been talking about for over a week was now hers to take in:  this was now HER classroom.  

I did not rush the "goodbye".  I made sure she knew where the potty was, and where to wash her hands.  I made sure to give her the distance that she sought to create, I was ready to meet her glance when she looked back in excitement that she finally got to pet the bunny.  I met her glance again as she walked away toward the Play Dough table,

but this time she paused to wave to me.  

She was ready for me to leave.  I wasn't sure what I expected, but in that moment, I didn't feel rushed to leave.  I was a bit stuck in fact. 

I asked her for a hug, and she came.  She was not sad, but instead, eager to interact with the room full of new young faces.  She asked me who she should sit by, and I gave her the two options that were available to her.  She turned to me, gave me a hug, said goodbye and went to sit next to the girl in the purple shirt. 

I did not rush out the door, I looked back to be sure that she knew that goodbye meant that I was leaving (duh).  What I saw proved to me that she knew, that she understood, that I could trust in what had just transpired, that she was going to have a great day.  

I felt that familiar frog in my throat and took a minute, in the familiar parking lot of the office where I'm fortunate enough to be able to share my love and realities of parenthood with those in my professional atmosphere.   I knew my co-workers were waiting to hear how she did, and it could be summed up in one statement: "I had to beg her for a hug".  Oh, thank goodness!  The frog and the butterflies gave way to a sigh and a smile.  


I know I'm not the only one with this going-(back)-to-school theme in their life right now -- not the only one with the frogs and butterflies!  

How did your kids do on their first day?

 © Houseman 2013