Caroline put it this way last night: "it's not like she's DYING or anything." No, nobody is on their deathbed, but yesterday and into this morning you would have thought by my irrational behavior someone indeed had died.
Liza started first grade today. First grade, that means she's gone ALL day . . .
OK, I'm not going to start crying AGAIN . . . seriously, I thought if I could channel my thoughts like I did on my run earlier today, and think about all the wonderful things I can do now that I'm entering this new phase of life, rather than dwell on the unnatural quiet in our home and the fact that after almost 15 1/2 years of always having a little buddy with me for part of the day, I'm now completely at a loss.
Yesterday Ryan, Caroline, and Sophie began school and I had one last day together with Liza. While I was cleaning up the kitchen after all the kids had left, she exclaimed, "c'mon Mom, play a game with me - you know it's our last day together!" And so I did, I turned off the computer, left the dishes in the sink, and played. We played some games, we put together a puzzle, we watched "Wordgirl," we blasted ABBA and danced together in the kitchen, and we went on a bike ride together . . . then, because I new the inevitable was coming, last night I took her to get her new pink school shoes and let her pick out some new clothes to wear on her first day.
While we were dancing in the kitchen, Chris called and asked, "how are you holding up?" That's all it took for the first breakdown . . . I was a blubbering mess on the phone, then Liza started crying - really Julie, keep it together! Then while we were leaving on our bikes, my friend stopped by and asked if Liza would like to come swimming. As I was telling her thanks for the offer, but we were trying to spend every last minute together, the tears started AGAIN . . . ugh, really, am I that unstable when it comes to my children?? What in the world am I going to be like when Ryan leaves for his mission? This morning I handled myself a little better, trying not to let Liza see me cry and ruin the excitement she was feeling for her big first day. She was so excited she couldn't even eat breakfast!!
I'm happy for my kids, I do love watching them grow and gain their independence, but watching your baby leave for her first day of school is tough. It's letting go of that part of motherhood when you always had someone who needed you practically every hour of every day. It's funny, because I know I've looked forward to this day on several occasions, just couldn't wait it have the house to myself, time to finally do all those projects I've put aside for so many years because my kids took first priority, time to read and study, time to volunteer and serve.
That's where my thoughts took me today, to the anticipation and excitement of this new stage in life where I can truly explore my talents to help others, to dig into the projects that have been put aside, and maybe even bask in the peace and quiet that seems so unnatural after all these years. And, I'm sure I'll be just fine after a couple of days of mourning.
Or, if it's just too quiet around here, I can follow the advice Liza gave to me yesterday . . .
"Don't worry Mom, tomorrow you can just go out and buy a dog."