I’m not much of a crier. But on Friday night, I cried myself to sleep.
I cried myself to sleep because it was the last day. The big girls’ last day of school for the year. The finale of Middle Girl’s very first year of school, and the culmination of Big Girl’s preschool career. That’s right; off to Kindergarten in the fall. Hard to believe.
And it was a beautiful day. Full of an uncanny and symbolic sunshine. A day sticky with smiles and celebration. When we left home in the morning, I felt a swollen sense of meaning in my chest, an extra awareness. I trailed them, as I often do, studying the silhouettes of their small bodies, snapping away, my mind mottled with one word. Last.
I found myself desperate to memorize those moments. That simple trip down our street, the skipping of little legs, the cascade of dirty blonde hair, the kelly green of a frog backpack. At the corner, I sneaked up behind them, pulled them toward me and whispered something in their ears: last day donuts!
Predictably, Big Girl chose vanilla with sprinkles, and Middle Girl opted for pink with sprinkles. And I sat there with my enormous coffee, my hot coffee, and watched them wrestle with these big yummy things, frosting coating their lips, sprinkles scattering. When they asked me to cut their donuts into smaller bites, it felt like a privilege, a passing privilege.
And then we walked the short walk to school. And as I did every day for two years now, I let go of their hands on the corner and let them race to school. That one word still had me: Last. It would be the last morning they would race together to this school. The tears were there, behind my big Manhattan shades; I didn’t let them come. Yet.
We attended end-of-year parties in both classrooms. We said thank yous. We scattered hugs. And then, when the day was over, we came home. I took the big girls to a birthday party on the East Side where they zoomed around, and jumped in plastic balls, and swung from mini-trapezes. And then home. Again.
And then we had a few friends over for a year-end play date/dinner. The kids were extra-amped, sugared up, a swirl of chaos. And we parents lingered around the kitchen island, nibbling, exhausted. When people left, we cleaned up and we watched a Mad Men. And then before bed, as Husband and I were brushing our teeth, shredded with fatigue, we watched Big Girl’s Class of 2012 video. It was a beautiful video full of beautiful creatures, creatures who are growing, and going somewhere. And it got me.
Suddenly, there I was. In my bathroom. In my pajamas. Sobbing.
I climbed into bed next to my man and a mess of words spilled from me, along with those tears. It’s just that change is hard even when it’s good change. And I am so proud of them. And this day is big. Really big. And they are growing up so fast and I know that’s good, but it’s difficult, too. And I just love them so much and I just can’t believe this, you know?
And Husband, my good man, threw his arm around me and nodded. Listened.
There are moments, I said. There are moments when I still feel like a little girl and that I am simply not equipped for this life we have, these girls. I just feel like it’s too much, you know? And I realize something, too. This would have been a night when I would have gotten wasted. Because the emotions were there all day, just building. I would have drowned myself in wine to deal. You know that, right?
Husband nodded. Because he knew; he knew I was right. This would have been one of those high-risk evenings when I would have turned to Pinot Grigio – to celebrate, to cope – and it wouldn’t have been pretty. And this? This bedtime tear-fest? It wasn’t pretty either, but it actually kind of was in an odd way. Because it was so real, so felt, so raw. I had no choice but to feel what I was feeling. And there was some majesty in this.
I nodded off with puffy eyes and wet cheeks and that one word echoing in my tired head: Last.
Today is Monday. And another last for me. This is the last day of this version of my blog. Tomorrow is launch day. And I am so excited to welcome you all to my new place, but I’m also a bit melancholy about moving on. I guess that’s just the way I’m wired?
But first things first, I have a graduation ceremony to attend.
Check back tomorrow for some priceless shots of a certain little girl in a tiny cap and gown, and to see my new place.
Today might be a last, an end, but tomorrow is a first, a beginning. And that’s good, right?
I think so.
I know so.
How often do you cry? When are you most likely to overdo things (drink, food, etc)? Do you have a hard time with lasts or are you more focused on firsts?