She doesn’t see me staring at her. Or hear me praying for her. Because I know that when she jumps out of my car tomorrow in those pink Chuck Taylors, safely walking behind the orange cones into the great abyss of Kindergarten, looking straight ahead - no turning back, high fives to those she met in Pre-K, it’s the beginning of a strange and wonderful journey. I know that there will be highs. And lows. And that I can’t protect her or always make things better or fix everything. That the life part is learning to help her steer those peaks and valleys and to encourage her not to stay complacent.
I snuggle her tight this night before Kindergarten. Little sister is upstairs settling down with Daddy and it’s just me and her. My baby. My first baby. So tender. So kind. So electric. And weird. And wonderful. We watch Girl Meets World. Mostly because I was Topanga before. When she was figuring out how to be. When she was navigating clothes and hair and life and love. And I’m Topanga now. The Mom. Navigating this new world of adulthood and motherhood. Working and raising. Loving and living. Boundaries and wanderlust.
I’m not really paying attention to the show. I’m just staring at her. This amazing little person that I helped to create. That I grew and got here safely. I’m not sure how we got from 3 AM feedings to the night before Kindergarten - the years swift, yet, daily time moving slowly.
There is a part of me that wants to cry. For the time that has passed. For fear of the future. For this overwhelming realization that as she gets older, so do I. And just as I feel a tear well up, she turns to me, and sings the theme song into her apple slice at the top of her lungs:
I've been waiting
For a day like this to come
Struck like lightning
My heart's beating like a drum
On the edge of something wonderful
Face to face with changes
What's it all about?
Life is crazy
But I know I can work it out
'Cause I got you to live it with me
I feel all right, I'm gonna take on the world
Light up the stars, I've got some pages to turn I'm singing "go-o-o"
Oh oh oh oh
Take on the world, take on the world
Take on the world!
I know this was an authentic moment for her - the apple slice microphone, the wet hair from the good scrubbing she got a few minutes ago, the infectious giggle. She is on the edge of something wonderful. And so am I.
It’s hard to be sad or fearful or anxious. She’s been waiting, patiently for her moment.
And she’s ready to take on the world.
And I’m lucky I get to watch from the wings.