Baby steps

Well, our first day was a roaring success. I am a little delayed in posting about it due to a huge power surge that stole my internet connection for the last 24 hours. Oh, the joys of these crazy Midwest storms.

Anyhoo, the morning began early. The kids were up at the crack of dawn, dressed in their new school clothes, eager and nervous all at once. Breakfast was hastily consumed and backpacks were packed. Then we sat and waited until it was time to go.
The boys have been a little bit anxious, but seemed not to show it. They stormed up to the bus and got right on, eager for the familiar routine of school and friends. They've done this before - most recently just a year ago - and they know what it takes to make new friends. McKay seemed mildly embarrassed that we were all at the bus stop, while Chase fiercely hugged me before getting on the bus. They were off. My big boys beginning another year. Taking another step towards the rest of their lives.

Hannah, on the other hand, had to wait a bit. She is in afternoon kindergarten every day, except on Fridays when she will go all day. It was sheer torture to watch her face betray the envy she felt for the boys getting on the bus without her.
She put on a good front (as we girls are known to do) and waved them off with hearty enthusiasm.

Then she resumed a lonely perch at the front window for the next three-and-a-half hours. During which time, she went through various stages of emotion; anger, despair, longing, joy, and sorrow, all of which induced a lot of tears. She insisted that the bus had forgotten all about her, and no amount of logic could convince her that her time would come soon.
She waited and waited. And cried and pleaded. And pouted and cried. And waited some more.
Then finally it was time to brave the 346-degree heat to wait for the bus. I think in her little heart, she actually doubted that her turn would really even come.
But oh, joy! It finally came! And she didn't look back once. Just got on that bus like a big girl that doesn't need her mama anymore. Gone was the baby girl, dressed in her black turtlenecks and brown gingham dresses. Gone was the teeny baby with bird-like legs that clung to me as though she were an extra appendage. Gone was the toddler who carried around 18 bunnies at once and smiled a gap-toothed smile that melted my heart. Gone in an instant. Replaced by this person who suddenly thinks she is grown up and independent enough to take some very big steps out on her own.
And she is. I was sad for a bit as I watched that yellow bus drive away from me, knowing that it took with it a piece of my baby girl that I'd never get back again.

But then...about 30 minutes later, I was actually able to walk down the glass aisles at Home Goods and not worry that I'd end up buying everything that had been broken by grabby fingers. I went through McDonald's drive-thru and got only a diet coke.

And nobody complained about it.

I went to the bookstore and browsed around for a long time before I bought this (which I CANNOT put down, btw). I hit five stores in two hours. I did this all by myself. Which means I've taken a few independent steps of my own.

And I think they look pretty darn good on all of us.