Newborns are helpless when you bring them home from the hospital. We set Juliana in a bouncy sea and stared at her. Now what? She was dependent on us for everything and we were scared that we would mess up. I didn’t realize that was this easy phase when all that mattered was food, sleep, dry diapers and lots of snuggles. The hard questions hadn’t even started.
She was 8 months old when we put her in a daycare program. When I dropped her off on the first day she didn’t cry, but I did – all day long. I was aching to see her when work ended for the day and I was relieved to find her smiling and happy. She was happy there for 2 years until we made a decision to pull her out with no warning and move her to a new program where she didn’t know anyone. She didn’t understand why she couldn’t go to her old school and it took a while for her to adjust to the new environment. Being a parent includes making difficult decisions in the best interest of your children. In this case we definitely made the right choice.
Juliana was 3 when the boys were born and that was a hard year. I knew that it would be a difficult adjustment, but I wasn’t prepared for how mad she would be at me and how long it would go on…sometimes I think she is still getting used to sharing me with her brothers. No matter how hard I work to make sure that she gets one-on-one time and special outings, it’s not enough for her. Most mornings she asks if she can stay home with me “I need a mommy day” and she promises that she will be quiet so I can work…but I know that quiet for Juliana comes in short spurts followed by lots of chatter and requests and calls for attention. So I drop her off at her summer program and sometimes she is in tears when I leave. Being a working mom is hard sometimes.
We were so happy the day that Juliana’s number was pulled in the lottery for the charter school we wanted. That single moment changed a lot for us and I was so relieved. We love everything about the school. While touring the school, all I could think was I wish I would have gone to school here. I think that the environment will allow Juliana to grow and learn and I am confident that it is a good fit. Juliana is less confident – “I don’t want to go to a new school. I don’t have any friends there”. This concern might have worried me a few months ago, but recently she is easily making friends – in the neighborhood, at Kindergarten screening and at the park. She is no longer too shy to talk to kids she doesn’t know. She tells them her name and 2 minutes later they are busy playing.
The biggest remaining issue now is the bus. She tells me that the bus will be scary because she doesn’t have a friend to sit with and that concern is valid. I told her that she might be nervous for the first few days and she will quickly make friends and riding the bus to school will be no big deal. Me – I am dreading that moment on the first day of school when the bus pulls up to the corner. How am I going to smile, wave and hold back the tears and convince her that everything is going to be allright? What if I see tears running down her face as the bus pulls away? What if someone is mean to her? Shouldn’t I be there to keep her safe? I know that we are making the right decision, I know that she will thrive in her new school, I know that she is growing up and that means letting go a little bit more, but that doesn’t make it any easier.