Normally, this time of year is my favorite. Putting up the tree, baking cookies, writing out Christmas cards, shopping! I don't even mind my (retail) job, which gets exponentially busy this month. More hours = bigger paycheck, and busy days go by really fast. But there is something that has been looming in the back of my mind for a while now. It's something that I have tried very hard not to think about for months. It used to seem far away, but as the year gets closer to ending this thing is creeping closer to the front of my thoughts.
My baby, who will be turning three tomorrow, is starting preschool full-time in January.
I was forced to come to terms with this when I bought Matthew a lunchbox yesterday. I just about lost it right there in the aisle at Target. Now, this lunchbox, which represents a huge change in our lives, is sitting in our front room, and every time I walk past it I get sad.
I don't know what is the matter with me. When Embry started school at roughly the same age I was excited. I may have shed a tear or two when I dropped her off on her first day, but mainly my emotions were positive. I knew that she was going to a great school, and that she would flourish. Even despite a few "I want my Mommy" episodes the first semester, I really pushed her to go on, because I knew how good this would be for her. I was right, of course. Embry is doing fantastic in a class that we still love everything about. So, why can't I feel the same excitement for Matthew?
I know that he is going to do well. He gets the same great teacher and will be in the same class as Embry for the first semester. All the teachers and staff at the school already know him. He's familiar with the classroom, he plays on the playground, and even knows some of the kids that will be in his class. I think the entire experience will be even less scary for him then it was for Embry. He is ready. I... am not.
My thoughts are simple and irrational. I am not ready for my baby to leave me. Matthew and I spend every morning together after J and Embry head off to work/school. We sit in the recliner in the livingroom and share breakfast while watching the news. We are both content to snuggle and tickle and read books and sing songs all morning long without doing anything productive like taking a shower, starting the laundry or cleaning up the house. I love my life as a stay-at-home Mom, and I don't want it to change.
But, I keep reminding myself that change is inevitable. Matthew has to go to off to school eventually. J and I discussed it at length and we agree that now is the best time for him to start. I'll just have to soak up as much Matthew as I can over the next few weeks. And once he starts, I'll be counting down the days until summer break when I can have both of my babies home for a couple of short months to snuggle and tickle and read books to and sing songs with.