9/9/08

What Mom Feels Like

I brought the camera along when bringing Miles to his first day of preschool today. (of course!) At first I thought I would bring it just for a quick shot on the way in. Then I decided to take a few extras for a picture story - the story that makes today's post...
Miles thought it was cool that we headed off to actually go to the school we've visited so many times. He's been looking forward to it for weeks. Me, on the other hand? Well, I was just a jumble of thoughts and emotions and wasn't really expecting that. (And yes, Asher's car seat has a leopard print cover. Don't ask.)



Miles is such a strong, resilient, happy person. He took off, saying "Mom, walk up here with me." He got a little nervous, turning a bit uneasy when we entered the bustling building, and started chewing crazily at his nails. I thought, "oh yeah, here come the school germs, bring on the sickness!" But mostly I was thinking that I'm so proud of this little sprite of a thing clinging to my hand. I was flashing back to a thousand memories of a rolly baby and clutzy toddler. I cannot believe this is that same boy. But it is.





And to me, he is still all of those things, hidden under layers of height and vocabulary. But still my piece of baby heaven. It's all tucked away in that huge heart of his.

The goodbye was easier for him than it was for me. Asher and I gave him reluctant hugs and fast kisses. We walked to the car one person less, and I felt like a little bit of something shifted. Changed in a moment. My baby crossing that invisible yet tangible line toward a partly independent childhood. School.

Asher looked a little lonely in the back seat. And for once, he was perfectly quiet all the way home. No fuss. No screams. It was like he was thinking, we dropped off Brother in that brand new place and drove off? I told him we'd be back for Brother very soon, and he smiled.




And those unexpected feelings? They hit me hard as I prepared to drive away. I grabbed the camera and took this crooked picture. I'm not even sure why. I absolutely hate photos of myself. (Especially this one). And yet I share it because it's the memory of how I felt on the day my first-born started school.

I felt sad and joyful all at the same time. I felt nervous with no control over my boy's care, but relieved at the chance to go home, put Asher down for a nap and get something done.



I felt a bit guilty for feeling relieved, yet understood myself. Because I feel so tired. I felt a little silly for being so emotional. I felt a little proud to be so emotional. I felt a lot of things at once, which seems a constant state ever since the day of Miles' arrival. To feel so many emotions, every day, out of so much love? It feels good. Because this is what it feels like to be Mom.

21 clicked right here to comment:

Abra said...

I cried when I took Deklan to kindergarten... I cried when I took him to grade one, and Piper to kindergarten. In fact, I cried last year during the school assembly. This year, I cried when Kai went to his kindergarten evaluation and he knew things I didn't know he knew! I cried when I took him to school for the first day, and when he rode the bus all by himself...
I'm a sap.
But they're still my babies, so I cry when they reach a milestone, mostly tears of joy, and lots of times tears of "wow! I can't believe we made it this far!"
And occasionally they're tears of "Finally! A little bit of peace!"
Come to think of it, I've been known to cry during certain tv commercials too... maybe I just like to cry!

Abra said...

PS, as far as self portraits go, this random one is fantastic.

joolee said...

You have such a gift! And your love for your boys is so evident in all that you write. I love how your baby is now "hidden under layers of height and vocabulary." Beautiful.

Sabrina said...

THank you for sharing... You are a fabulous mother!

Kimberly said...

I can well imagine feeling exactly the same way - and I think the self-portrait is lovely and illustrative.

Peanut said...

You've written exactly how I think I'll feel when I take KK to school for the first time. Such a complexity of emotions. I'll have to try to remember to take a picture of myself that day.

Melanie J said...

Baby G is too little for me to know if I'll cry or cheer when I drop him off at preschool. Depends on how biddable he is. Right now, I'm guessing I'll sob buckets, but he's starting to show a stubborn streak. If it develops....well, a break might be nice!

katieo said...

oh yes. We just started preschool and (ulp) first grade. I'd go from excitement for them to excitement for me to sadness that they were gone to joy to nervousness...

great post.

happygeek said...

Beautifully said.
I am with you on therange of emotions that one can feel at th same time.
Congrats on making it through the first day.

PsychMamma said...

Who even knew it was POSSIBLE to feel so many emotions at once?? Certainly not I before Baby.

So glad that he was so brave and excited. I can't help but think it would have been harder if he would have been a blubbering mess that you had to force to go/stay.

Being a mommy is full of so many bittersweet moments. Thanks for sharing.

The Three 22nds said...

Love the post! You have a way with words!

Lisa said...

Oooh! I remember the first time leaving my daughter at school and walking back home with just her brother. It felt so awkward. I loved how it opened a whole new world for me in that I could have so much one on one time with the second child, who'd never really had that.

Great photo essay.

a Tonggu Momma said...

This year's been difficult for me because the Tongginator goes five mornings a week. (Gulp!)

On to other news... there's a Froggy Smile waiting for you at my blog. I hope you like it.

Kazzy said...

That first day of school is killer! When my second son (now almost 18) left for kindergarten my husband stayed home with me for a couple of days because I felt so distraught. I also had just had boy number three two weeks before so the hormones may have had something to do with it. lol But I love having older kids. The conversations become so much fun and the interplay so rewarding. Keep your chin up and enjoy each step. The picture of yourself was beautiful. And thanks for commenting on my two blogs today!

Brillig said...

Feeling silly about being emotional and feeling good about being emotional all at once! You've really summed up a big chunk of motherhood right there!

Oh, and Asher, with his leopard print carseat, is my new best friend. :-D

Rachel said...

Heather, I am a goose for not commenting earlier. You have a great blog here.

I too cannot believe how many emotions can (and do) inhabit my being in one single moment. It's at once overwhelming and wonderful.

Thanks so much for finding my blog. It's so fun to hear from you!

Eowyn said...

So I'm not entirely sure what more to say than yes, I understand and yes it is what makes us moms. Being a mom means having conflicting feelings all the time.

rachel said...

Thank you for putting into words what so many of us moms feel. You are a very gifted writer and I so appreciate reading your day to day thoughts and reflections. Your kids will treasure these posts someday!
Oh-and you are one of the few people I know of who has had to endure the trials of dealing with a colicky child...sabrina would always mention you when I would complain to her about my son. Have you found that even though he is out of the colicky stage he is still pretty moody and head strong? My seth is still pretty high maintenance....ughh.

Jenny said...

Great post, Heather.

And, Man, you are prolific! And everything is like, good!

Kelly @ Love Well said...

I'm usually such a sanguine in my day-to-day life that I don't start to get emotional over all these changes until I have time to reflect.

*SOB!

I was so excited for Natalie last year when she started first grade. Then I watched her bravely walk into a room full of unknown people, sit down at her desk and watch the conversations going on around her. She suddenly looked so small. The reality of it all hit me, and my heart just squeezed.

Francis Kamau said...

The first time I took my son for his first day to school I did not go to work that day. The whole day I was at home waiting for a phone call from school. I felt sorry for him because of leaving him with total strangers. It was bad I took a long time to recover, but him he was having a great time and new friends.

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