An answer, but still questions

September 8, 2014

I’ve finally figured out what’s been making me so ill at ease about this whole school thing with Della. It’s not the school or the teachers or the kids or their parents or the logistics or any of that.

It’s 100% me.

For pretty much as long as I can remember, I’ve always felt different than everyone else. And I’ve never known why. Still to this day, I have no idea what causes these feelings.

I don’t know if it was growing up with such a weird name (if anyone can tell me how to pronounce Picl, i’ll give you a hug), always being so much younger than the rest of my classmates (i would have been young for my grade with a may birthday anyway, but then i skipped a grade on top of that), always being a “smart kid” (though my friends were always smart and got good grades, too, so that was definitely not unique to me), or what, but I always felt like there was just something weird about me. I was different somehow.

In my mind, anyway.

No one ever bullied me or told me they didn’t like me or I couldn’t join them or they wanted me to go away, but I always felt like I didn’t quite fit in. Like I was always kind of the odd girl out. Like just a little bit I didn’t belong. Like people were always talking about me or somehow making fun of me.

I was never really the one everyone asked to do stuff with or be in their group or come to their party or go with them wherever, but I certainly wasn’t shunned either. I was much more of a homebody anyway, preferring to stay home with my family on the weekends instead of being at every party thrown around school, so that actually suited me just fine.

I always had good groups of friends growing up, too, so that even confounds me more as to from where these feelings stem. I don’t think I ever didn’t fit in, that’s the strange part. At least no one blatantly told me I didn’t, anyway.

I still kind of get a surge of this same feeling today, especially in new group situations. I’m a pretty shy person until I know you, then you usually can’t get me to shut up, so if I’m in a group setting where I know no one, I tend to be by myself, a little removed, waiting for an invitation in. It’s much less so than when I was a kid, but I can still feel it a little sometimes.

And it is exactly this that I never want our daughters to experience. I’m sure every kid is shy sometimes and may take a little while to warm up to new faces and places, but I never want them feeling left out or weird or different in a bad way. Because they aren’t.

They are the most beautiful, wonderful, amazing people I know, and it makes my heart ache just thinking that they might feel these same emotions of mine someday. So I really hope they never do. I want them to love being in school with new friends and doing new things and learning new lessons and ideas.

Unfortunately, being clueless as to what causes this in me, I’m not sure how to prevent it from churning in them as well. But I’m hell-bent on doing my best.

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The blink of an eye

September 3, 2014

That’s seemingly how long it took us to get here…

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Della started K4 on Tuesday, and I still can’t believe it’s really happened. Each year as the girls age, I say it doesn’t seem as if time has completely flown by to get to that point. I feel like it really has been just over 4 years that we’ve known Della and almost 2 that we’ve known Lana.

And I don’t mean that in a bad, oh-my-gosh-I-can’t-take-another-day-with-these-two way. I mean that in the absolute best way possible – that even though time in general feels as if it flies by most of the time, my days with these girls haven’t felt so. This time has felt just right, something for which I am grateful.

But this whole school thing? Hoo boy, has it crept up on me something fierce.

Not once in her lifetime until just recently, and especially not even when I started staying home with Della and then both once Lana was born, did I realize that their school years were going to approach so quickly. It felt like we had eternity to be together at home, on our own schedule, doing whatever we wanted and whatever the days allowed.

Why, I have no idea, because all along I’ve fully known at what age kids go to school. And around here I’ve always known that K4 is included in our school system, so our kids would naturally be going to it.

But here we are. Back to school.

And I don’t really like it.

Yet.

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I know this will be a wonderful experience for her and for all of us, but it’s just going to take me some time to get there mentally.

I will admit, having these first 2 half days under our belts does make me feel a little better. Like ok, we really can do this. But tomorrow is her first full 3-hour day, so I have to get us up, ready, and out the door to be at school before 8:15. Good luck.

And I did meet some new parents today who seem really nice and easy to get along with, so that made me infinitely more at ease about this whole 14-year process. Yes, 14 years. That’s how long she will be in the public school system now. Class of 2028, anyone? I about die every time I hear that.

There was 1 thing, though, that did make my heart soar when I heard it. Today as we were walking home, Della said, “I love going to school.”

And exhale.

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Della starts school in just a couple weeks, and I won’t lie – I think it’s giving me major anxiety. Yes, it’s only K4, and yes, it will only be 3 hours a day in the mornings, but still. I don’t want her to be gone!

It’s so strange picturing my days here without her. What are Lana and I going to do all morning? Della is my resident babysitter for Lana when I need to get stuff done, whether it be work, cleaning, or just general stuff that doesn’t involve direct interaction with one of my children. Honestly, I can’t picture the days without her. I have a feeling it’ll take actually having her gone those hours before I can wrap my head around it.

I know she’ll be fine, and I’m sure she’ll thrive, knowing that incredible little mind and spirit of hers. Thankfully, our school district is one of the better ones in the state, so I’m not worried there either. It’s all me.

I’m going to miss her, though. She’s my first child, and I never even thought about the fact that her school days would be here so soon. 4 years? That’s all I get with her like this? 4 years?? I feel like we have so many more days we need to play and have no schedule and just be here together. But, sadly, they are quickly running out.

The notion of now being part of a school system for the next 20+ years is a little unsettling, too. Supplies and teachers and new kids and lunchrooms and that smell. Don’t all schools smell the same, or is that just me, too? I’m definitely not looking forward to like 700 new kids and their parents. What if I can’t stand all the parents of Della’s new classmates and then we’re stuck with them for 12 more years? Ugh. Or what if they feel that way about us? Ugh more.

I guess my memories of school days are not all sunshine and rainbows, and maybe that’s why I’m dreading this new chapter so much right now. Not that school was bad for me, I just don’t look back and think wow, those were the absolute best times of my life. I was so ready to be done with school and out of Peoria by the time I graduated high school, that that’s pretty much the main feeling about school that I remember. Sure I can tell you all about my elementary and middle schools, but overall, I just wanted to be done.

So I really hope Della enjoys her school days much more than I remember doing and doesn’t necessarily want to bolt out of here as soon as she can. Because I want her to always want to stay. Which is ridiculously selfish, because of course she won’t want to. But hopefully at least she’ll always want to come back.

I just don’t like this feeling that my baby girl is going to be in this giant sea of other students pretty soon, and I can’t stop thinking about it. I don’t want her to go, but I know she can’t stay here forever. And as much as I’d love to keep her here, I don’t think there’s any way I’m cut out for homeschooling. What, you don’t want to do your homework today? Ok cool, neither do I. Let’s go outside. Yeah, I don’t think they’d get very far with my classroom curriculum.

Is there any cure for this knot I get in the heart of my soul every time I think of her tiny little self walking through those huge, looming school doors? Or will it only be cured with time and seeing that it’s really not so scary (i hope) and watching her grow?

We did take a practice walk to the school today and played on the playground, so I could get a feel of how early our morning routines will have to start come September. It’s not too bad, but I’m sure I won’t be able to take them in the double stroller. Even in K4, who wants their mom to walk them to school in a stroller? Am I right, or am I way overthinking this? I just assumed being dropped off from a stroller would be a little too babyish. So I’ll probably push Lana in the single stroller and Della will just walk with me. Fortunately the playground there is awesome, so I know she was really excited about exploring that and climbing all the new monkey bars.

I simply can’t believe (nor do i want to believe) that this beautiful little piece of my heart is not going to be mine for parts of the days anymore. Somebody better send me 18 boxes of Kleenex for that first day, because I’m sure I’ll be a mess.

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Four!

Thumbnail image for Four! August 1, 2014

Della turns 4 years old today. 4!! I just went back and read my post from her birthday last year, and I can honestly say not a ton has changed. She is still as wonderful, smart, funny, caring, and conscientious as always. Just throw in the additions of Frozen as her new favorite everything, a […]

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Sights & sounds of summer

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I absolutely adore summer. Wanna know why? Sun shining Sky warming Coats and socks disappearing Windows opening Breeze blowing Shadows lengthening Daylight lingering Fireflies firing Dandelions floating Kids’ laughter pealing Smiles growing Play playing Drinks flowing Fun increasing People enjoying Freshly mowed grass smelling Bikes pedaling Skin tanning Water splashing Little feet running Footprints leading Arms […]

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Planes & automobiles

July 2, 2014

I’ve been remiss these past few months and haven’t yet posted about the 2 great vacations we took this spring. So sorry. But here I finally am, and I brought pictures. Just 1 thing I learned during our second vacation before I get into all the details, though. All-driving road trips totally suck. I mean sure, […]

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That whole tears of joy thing

Thumbnail image for That whole tears of joy thing June 24, 2014

Last night we went to a Lakeshore Chinooks baseball game, which is the local NWL team. They have a beautiful stadium about 10 minutes from our house that just opened up a few summers ago. It’s clean, it sits directly on the shores of Lake Michigan, it’s much smaller than Miller Park and subsequently so […]

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