I became a mother before most of my friends and, as a mother, I struggled to meet people who I was comfortable letting into my truest self. Due to all that and also our decision to redshirt Ethan, he is a good year older than most of his friends and a couple years older than some of the friends he's made in his extracurricular activities. As a gentle giant, this doesn't phase him. He seems to not notice that he towers over the children in his gym class, which would probably happen anyway because he's tall for his age, too. But around me, my friends are all filled with relief they have another year of preschool before Kindergarten. And around Ethan, his friends are all gearing up for the final round of preschool come the fall.
...And then there is me, with Kindergarten taunting me on the horizon and me crying myself to sleep 4/7 nights per week in utter disbelief that this is here already. I mean, I can still feel the sensation of my water breaking as Ethan made his surprise entrance into the world. I can still remember the burning exhaustion and newness of those first days as a clueless new mother. I can still feel those meandering afternoons spent at the park, wasting the hours until dinnertime because each moment felt too precious to waste sitting at home. They felt like they would last forever, those long days. It felt like there was always time. Other people would post their children's first day of school pictures and I felt like I had dodged a bullet because we had forever to go.
If two years ago you had asked me to imagine what my life would be like now, two years later, I never would have pictured this. I wouldn't have pictured prepping one almost-six year old for Kindergarten and mommy and me classes with my one year old. I wouldn't have pictured like rolling so smoothly -- too smoothly -- into the next phase as if it was the most normal thing in the world. But then I guess it is the most normal thing in the world, children growing up and life going by in the blink of an eye. "I'm independent now," Ethan told me this morning as he slipped his legs into his favorite pair of whale leggings. "We're still a team, though. I can be your baby when I'm 100. I'm just independent right now because I like to put my own pants on."