I had my first parent teacher conference of the school year this week. Aside from hearing what is probably told to almost every pre-k parent (you’re child is the sweetest and she’s such a happy kid), I asked my daughter’s teacher about how she was doing compared to the kindergarten readiness checklist we received at the beginning of the year.
I was pleased to hear that she was moving right along towards checking everything off the list. We talked about her writing and hand strength as well as her ability to move seamlessly from one task to another. We even discussed her taking herself to the bathroom. Somehow, above anything else we discussed, this fact hit me hard. As my daughter’s teacher was explaining that some schools have bathrooms in the classrooms and others do not, I started to wonder how we got here. How did my little baby get to the point where I was discussing kindergarten already? I look at her face and still see the tiny sleeping babe in my arms. And now I’m trying to picture her wander down a hall by herself to go to the restroom.
I asked her teacher, “Will she be ready?”. As she explained that by the end of the school year she has every confidence that she will exceed everything on the checklist, I smiled at her and nodded. But what I really was asking was “Will she be ready?”. I know that my little girl will check off all the academic tasks on the list at her own pace. However, will she be ready to meet all new kids at kindergarten? Will she be ready to ride the bus alone? Will she be ready to ask for help if she needs it?
Later in the day I watched my baby girl chatting with her friends, running around and laughing. She was growing up and becoming her own little person. She was already figuring things out on her own. Of course she was going to be ready.
Maybe the real question was, “Will I be ready?”.
When I was pregnant, I asked myself that same question. Was I ready to trade my career in to raise my little one? Was I ready for that immense responsibility? Everyone said you’re never truly ready or prepared for what is ahead. They were right. Throughout my journey of motherhood, I have asked if I was ready at various stages.
Now here I am again. Asking myself if I’m ready. Ready see my daughter grow up. Ready to have her need me less and less. Ready to let go a little more as the years go on. Ready to rediscover myself and how my new norm will change yet again.
I guess the answer is the same. You’re never truly ready. But we go on, some days less confidently than others, and face the bittersweet beauty of raising a child and watching them grow every time you blink your eyes.