The Steps to Kindergarten

I cried at church today.

To be fair, I think I was feeling emotional before we ever left. It was one of those mornings. The too-loud kind where you can't really think, and the kids woke up extra early, and you're not really feeling it but you get ready for church anyway. Then we get to church and they tell us that since Ash is about to start kindergarten, she needs to move up to the bigger-kids class.

And there you have it.

One emotional mother who's been holding her breakdown at bay, thrown overboard.

I tried to be nice about it; and Jeff was not even really affected by this news that she's going to be with the bigger kids. But when we went in the room, I just felt like Ash was the smallest one. And it hit me that she's small . . . and she's going to kindergarten. And suddenly I'm going to cry. Maybe it hadn't really hit me up to that point. And maybe for some people it's not a big deal regardless. I knew it was going to be a big step, but I thought I'd be fine with it. And I will be. I'll have to be. But today at church, I wasn't fine. I had to run into the bathroom to get a hold of my emotions.

Then I sat through a message that totally reminded me why I go to this church even when I'm not feeling it. Because God is so over and under and in every message I've heard there. And even when I'm crying and practically schizophrenic with my personality all over the place--God somehow reaches through to tell me what I need to hear in a clear way.

Then I go stand in line to get Ashtyn. And I'm still emotional and Jeff says the wrong thing.

We've been married long enough to know that this happens. I've said the wrong thing many times. Standing in line today (feeling schizophrenic), I did not respond happily when Jeff said the wrong thing.

But we get through the moment and get the kids and go home.

And we've also been married long enough to know that we desperately need each other to be on our side. Jeff reminded me that we've got a lot of change coming in the next couple of weeks and we have to be together on this. He's completely right. And so we forgive and come together and treat each other with more sensitivity.

It's a love story.

A real story. And I'm thankful for it.

Like Jeff said, change is coming. The thing is, I like change. I do. To an extent, I guess. My mother used to rearrange our furniture all the time. I realized later that she was desperate to change something, and it usually ended up being where our sofa sat. And I have some of that in me. Change can overwhelm me, but it also makes me feel as though we're moving forward. Things are happening. I'll feel a desperate need for a change and so I'll go have my bangs cut. Six months later they'll be driving me crazy. It's just the way it goes.

But change for Ashtyn is different. It's a whole new world for her. I know she has a new school to adjust to where she knows no one. And I want it to be okay for her. I know it will be. (Because if it's not, we'll do whatever we have to in order to make it okay.) So I have to help her adjust to all the new people and places coming into her life next week. And I have to adjust to her being big enough to go to kindergarten.

It's harder than I thought.

Which I learned today while having a nervous breakdown about my daughter being in Kidz Jam.

Being a parent is an emotional experience. It's letting go and holding on, and being weak and being strong--all in a 24-hour timeframe. It's a constant push and pull. The responsibilities are endless. I looked at the dishes in the sink this afternoon and wanted to run. Because honestly, I'm tired of doing dishes. I feel like I do them constantly and they don't go anywhere. So I ran upstairs to my room. The dishes will wait. I need to process and grab a few minutes of quiet. It's been a really loud 48 hours at my house.

Yesterday Jeff worked in our basement almost all day, so I had some quality time with the kiddos (with the sounds of hammering and sawing in the background). I wish I could say it went super smoothly. There were some great moments, however it also felt like everyone was getting in trouble every other minute. Finally at bedtime Ashtyn was sent to her room for not sharing with Lincoln. What this looks like is a little girl in her room, in her bed, crying and yelling at the top of her lungs, "I LOVE LINCOLN! I LOVE LINCOLN! I LOVE LINCOLN!" (Yes, the Lincoln that she refused to share with all day.) Obviously, it was a last-minute attempt to prove her love for him. With that ringing in my ears, I am called down to the basement where Jeff tells me to go find a wrench for him in the garage. Because he is trying to fix a pipe under our house where there might be spiders. Jeff HATES spiders. I am not kidding at all. Even the thought of a brown recluse spider freaks Jeff out in a major way. So I stand in the basement while he goes into the crawl space to fix the pipe, then comes out, convinced he just saw a brown recluse and worried that a spider might have bitten him (though he can't be sure it was the brown recluse he may or may not have seen).

 The night finally ends and then morning comes way too early. And it's a recipe for a mom with frayed nerves. I have a swirl of emotions about my daughter going off to school next week. I feel it even now. I wonder if my mother felt the same. I suppose I'll ask her when she comes to visit later this month.

And even with all the heart-tugging moments, I have to think I'm blessed even to experience it. To have this little girl who begs for freezer pops and loves to water her flowers and shouts to the roof-tops that she loves Lincoln when she's in trouble--I'm lucky. I might be crying and hiding from the dishes in my sink and frantically searching for wrenches when I have no idea what they look like, but I'm oh-so-lucky. I know it.

Do you know these moments? Have you had them in your life? Where it's too much, but it's enough? It's all encompassing but you wouldn't want to let it go. It's life moving quickly but even through the fast-pace--it's a messy kind of beautiful.


  1. Kindergarten!!!!! I can't believe it. Good luck next week Brandy! Bring the kleenex! And don't worry, there will be other moms there crying, too. You can all go out to coffee and cry together!
    Love the messy kind of beautiful you write about. ;)

  2. Goodness...just sitting here bawling now. No big deal. Mine goes to kindergarten next year and I've been crying about it since he turned two.

    One Mama to another - I'm praying for ya!


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