Kindergarten & the Beatles & crying in public

I cried at Target the other day.

It’s neither the first time I’ve cried in public nor even at a Target, but the surprising nature of the cry was enough to snap me out of it pretty quickly and have it turn into an embarrassing choke/gasp kind of thing.

So, Susannah- Suzy/Zuzu/whatever the heck she goes by at any given moment- my second born ride-along, the one who can keep a good pun going for as long as the situation needs…she’s going to kindergarten in a few days.

I swear I wasn’t crying about that.

At least, I don’t think I was. But I somehow found myself standing in the middle of the baby aisle (and why the hell don’t they mark those things better because baby blankets are TRIGGERING) and I started, well, remembering.

Remembering how I was sure she’d never sleep through the night. And for the months which felt like years, she didn’t. I know she didn’t. I’m certain in my heart of hearts that time works differently in the middle of the night, and those 2am feedings were an absolute eternity wherein I could’ve built a house or learned Farsi, had my brain and body not hurt so very badly. (But now, at five, she sleeps every single night- and puts herself to bed some evenings- so it couldn’t have been all that very long, right?)

And remembering how I knew knew knew my hip would never again be passengerless (or aligned) because of her predilection for high-up carrying, the better for which to greet every single best friend out there- especially the ones she’d never seen before in her life. My muscle memory still holds each time I hefted a squirmy Suzy in a snowsuit to and fro and up and down, and my brain still recalls every instance of whining to myself that I just wanted to put her down for a second, my wrist and elbow are losing circulation from these plastic grocery bags and can’t we maybe learn how to walk? (Well, joke’s on me; now she sprints.)

And finally, remembering how those mornings and afternoons seemed to have no beginning and certainly no end in sight. This was both very, very good, and very, very tiring. The coziness and absolute sense of purpose? Amazing. The lack of personal space, time, and hygiene? …Troubling. (And while she’s definitely still game to make a good blanket tent on a rainy afternoon, girl’s got stuff to do. Which means she’s learning to exist in society. Which means my days of being her end-all be-all are incredibly numbered.)


This is what that damn baby aisle did to me. It made me realize that, five short years ago, this aisle represented my days and weeks and nights and diaper schedules. And it made me realize that, a few quick sections over, were a whole new span of aisles with things like dorm storage and hashtag mugs.

And that’s good, that’s the whole point, isn’t it? You have kids because you want to raise people, not just hold a baby for 800 years.

It’s just that the baby phase is so, so nice, and so, so quick and once it’s gone it’s irretrievably gone. But that’s okay, too. (…Right?)

Because the Big Kid phase is pretty marvelous. And I hear the Grown-Up Kid thing is exceptional. Especially if the kid is ready for that next phase and that next thing.

Which Susannah is. So, like, it doesn’t even matter if I’m not or if I am or if I had yogurt for breakfast. Borderline boring talking points, sure, but ultimately irrelevant.

Driving home, she asked if I could play The Beatles’ ‘Blackbird’. (I almost informed her that I wasn’t ready for that kind of next-level cliche, but decided to sit that argument out.) As it played, she sang along. (Of course she did, because in the movie preview of my life, a child singing ‘Blackbird’ is the perfect accompaniment to the image of a mother gripping a Honda Odyssey steering wheel and attempting to look super great about everything.)

“…You were only waiting for this moment to arise.”

She smiled out the window to herself and that’s when it truly hit me.

She was. She was really waiting. And now she’s off. Isn’t that, in the grand scheme of things, actually pretty wonderful?

Besides, she knows my nest is always open.

(In the dead of night or otherwise.)




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