Princess started Kindergarten on Monday. She did great—a little shy at first, but she said goodbye and headed into her classroom without looking back. I’m the one who had to fight back tears as she skipped along with her too-big backpack and ponytail swinging. She always has been independent.
This whole thing has me feeling nostalgic for the sweet, tiny baby she was not so long ago, so I dug out this poem I wrote when she was a few months old to remind myself that I knew this was coming. I love you, Princess. Try not to grow up too fast.
My sweet baby,
When I watch you falling asleep
with your milky skin
and rosy cheeks
and long eyelashes
like a perfect porcelain doll,
I want to breathe in this moment
and save it forever
I want to wrap it up in cellophane
and tuck it in a pocket,
saving it for another day
when you are older
in a teenaged rage
you’ve screamed, “I hate you” and slammed the door in my face.
Then I will take it out,
and unwrap it,
and remember that once I was the center of your universe.
That once, all I had to do to make you smile was hold you,
or sing my made-up songs,
or blow bubbles on your tummy.
I want to remember this moment,
because I know that it is fleeting.
I know that tomorrow there will be preschool,
and first dances and driver’s ed and proms.
And there won’t be time for rocking you to sleep
when you enter that world.
I won’t get to hold you on my lap
stroking your chameleon hair
(is it red or brown or blonde today?)
and wondering how I can be so completely
in love with you.