Kid Chronicles The adventures and random observations of a new mom

15Sep/120

Countdown and cliches

Me and the little girl in our tiny world for two.

No one else can see that the world is going to end, but I can. It's imminent. It's only two days away.

My little girl, my tiny baby (who really isn't so tiny anymore), will be starting at a cooperative preschool on Monday. You guys, that's only two days away.

Brace yourself for a cliche, but where has the time gone? Yes, I am now a living, breathing manifestation of one of the most common cliches: "They grow up so fast!"

People would tell me how "it all goes by so fast" when she was younger. And it's not that I didn't believe them. I knew they were probably right, and I would eventually feel like time was speeding by. But at the time, hearing that phrase wasn't very helpful, frankly.

I mean, I was in the midst of sleepless nights (and days), experiencing mental and physical fatigue the likes of which I had never felt before, and desperately trying to figure out how to breastfeed, change diapers and do all of the other million things I was supposed to do to take care of my tiny child. And people are telling me that they grow up so fast?

You can't tell a new mom who only gets three hours of sleep at a stretch that "it all goes by so fast." I'm just trying to get through the day, thankyouverymuch. It felt like time was crawling when I had to stay up all night because she wouldn't fall asleep and I couldn't figure out why. And really, I don't need to hear that all of the exhaustion I feel and effort I'm putting into this child is going to go up in a puff of smoke when she's older because it's all "gone by so fast."

But you know what? It has. It really has.

What I realize now is that my daughter and I have existed together in a little bubble of suspended animation. It's been largely just her and me for her first 20 months. There have been other people in her life -- her grandparents, her dad -- but most of our time, the small minutia of each day, has been spent with just the two of us.

My world shrank to the size of a tiny infant when she was born, and my sole focus in life became to make sure she was comfortable and happy. And in return, most of my little girl's sole focus in life has been on me. We've found ourselves a wonderful, rich relationship, full of laughter (and sometimes tears), wide-eyed exploration, and learning so many things so fast that it takes my breath away.

But I know that her first day at school will be the first step in a long process of dismantling the little world we made with just the two of us.

Really, I know it's going to be a good thing. After a (hopefully brief) bout of tears, she's going to go off and have grand adventures with her teachers and her new friends at school. She's going to become an independent little girl who will see a world much bigger than the small one she shares with me. How can I not be happy about that?

But I'm still a little sad. And happy. But sad, too.