Brooklyn is excited. We are finalizing plans for our trip to Ohio for Cousin's Week (where Daddy and I will deposit her at Aunt Peggy's house and "get out of Dodge" with Kensi as fast as possible) and our journey through Gettysburg to Washington DC. All she can talk about is that she wants to pack her swimsuit because she "hopes" that she'll be able to swim each day. When I picked her up from child care after school yesterday, she showed me an American flag that she had drawn on paper and then ripped out (around the flag.) She excitedly told me that she was going to make a whole bunch of her paper flags and take them with her to Aunt Peggy's so that all of the kids could have one. (We'll be there on the Fourth of July, and she is equally excited about celebrating the USA and all things American.) She is excited about seeing her cousin Stella. She told us, "I haven't seen her in FOREVER!" (It was this past January, at RJs wedding.) She was less excited about seeing her cousin Bobby, but I think that's because she doesn't remember him as well as Stella. She is excited about the travel plans I am making and things I am talking about with Daddy, even though she won't be there. She is excited about the possibility of swim lessons (because she will be swimming at Aunt Peggy's house.) Can you tell there is a theme here? In this 5 year old's world, at this particular time, everything is revolving around a trip to Aunt Peggy's house.
But first, some work must be done. Those last few weeks of school have to be slogged through, cubbies cleaned and lunch boxes retired. She has to finish school. Only a few more weeks and they seem to be flying by. It occurred to me just yesterday that there is no school this Friday and that's one less day of school left. We are finishing the last month of homework and trying to make sure all of her "i"s are dotted and all of her "t"s are crossed.
This week is Teacher Appreciation Week, and boy, do we appreciate our teachers. Brooklyn was excited about giving her Teacher and the counselors at Child Care their little tokens of appreciation today. She wanted to help me carry in the bags. (She even had to make sure as we were walking up the sidewalk to the school, "Mommy, is it Teacher Appreciation Week?")
Somewhere along the way in the last ten months, my little girl has grown up a bit. I wonder what happened, when I blinked and missed her growing up just a little more. She's only 5 and in the grand scheme of things, that's young. There's so much of her life left to go, and yet, at the same time, she's so grown up. She helps to set the table and clean up after dinner, she helps to take care of her sister (but won't change diapers) and she reads. Alot. Don't get me wrong, we still struggle. Last night, she brought a bag of dirt home from school and then thought it might be a good idea to open that bag on the living room floor and then pour water on it. (Of course, it was all explained to me as an "accident.") Believe me, we still have the tantrums and the fights, the stomping feet and the crying. But at the same time, when I tuck her in at night or when I sneak a peek at her sleeping before I go to bed, she looks so big, so tall in her "big girl bed" surrounded by Mr. Bear and Gymbo and all of those friends.
Sometimes I don't think I'm old enough to have a kindergartener. Sometimes I don't think I'm responsible enough to have 2 kids and sometimes I still see myself as a kid. Now I must face the realization that I have a first grader. Yikes! As kindergarten fades into the distance, so too will "nap time" and "circle time" and "centers." In their place will be math and geography and sitting at her own desk all day. Thank goodness she'll still have recess!
I guess it is one of the blessings (and a curse) of being a parent. Before kids, my life might have cycled on my birthday or on an anniversary, measuring time by how close I was to that day or how much time had passed since a date. With school-age kids, time is now measured in school years. I have a kindergartener for another few weeks. Then it is summer break and after that, 1st grade. Summer won't be measured by trips to the pool or plants growing in the backyard - it will be measured by how many weeks of camp are left or how many weeks until school starts. I no longer age in 12 month cycles, I age in school year cycles, marked by what grade my child is in. If I was worried about losing my identity when I first had kids, there is no question it is gone once Brooklyn started school. I am now firmly entrenched in life as "Brooklyn's Mommy"
Then again, she is only 5. She knows the school year is coming to an end, but for now she's not thinking of how much she has learned this year or who she will have for a teacher in the fall or even what she's doing for summer camp. For her, it's all about Aunt Peggy's house.