September 4, 2009

leaving the nest

school-kidsLast week I let go. Just a little, mind you. But it was for the first time. Annie P started school. Two days a week, she’ll spend the morning with other young toddlers at a Mother’s Morning Out program. Now, I know this isn’t real school. I didn’t send her off on a bus, and she didn’t have to bring any school supplies with her save a box of tissues and a pack of baby wipes.  However, for us it is the beginning.

Not every family with a stay at home parent sends their child off to school this early. But for Annie P and our goals for her, there is no question. It hasn’t come without sacrifice. My husband and I played around with the budget and let the cleaning lady go so we could comfortably do this. I know mothers say they would do anything for their children. If you knew me, you’d know that cleaning toilets fits the bill. As I said, we have certain goals for our child. I should probably pause to clarify what I mean by goals. We’re not those parents with plans to have her quoting Shakespeare by age four and composing original music in kindergarten. However, we do want to give her the chance to do and be whatever her heart desires. I believe one of the keys to this is making the effort to expose the little people we’ve been charged with to new experiences on a regular basis. This builds a passion for life and the willingness to step outside one’s comfort zone.

One of my true dreams for my daughter is that she will see more of the world than myself. I’ve seen more than many and yet not near enough.  My husband and I both agree that we’d rather sacrifice in our own lives in order to show our daughter as much of the world as we can before sending her off on her own. We hope it’s a passion we’ll start and she’ll continue.

And so she started school. I don’t expect her to learn much academically this year. But she will have a chance to meet other children her age. She’ll begin to learn to socialize. And she will spend some time away from the comforts of home. This will make the transition to preschool, and in turn grammar school, an easier one. Going off to college will be a breeze. And perhaps later on, she’ll grab a suitcase and head around the world on her own travel adventure without fear.

This week, as Annie P learns to feel comfortable away from home, I’ll dream of the places she will one day see. Sure, she’s only a few miles away today. But eventually, half a world may be between us. The thought will make cleaning the toilet that much easier.