It is 9:55 p.m., Kindergarten Eve, 2011. My kiddos went to bed at 8:30 tonight. Their backpacks are waiting by the front door, all sparkling and new. Their fresh, spotless lunchboxes are loaded with nutritious lunches and our traditional first-day-of-school notes. I have been wandering aimlessly about the house, reminiscing about my first Kindergarten Eve four years ago. I remember sending Snapper off for her first day of kindergarten. She was not quite 5, and Pepper was just 1, not even walking yet. I remember the empty feeling when I left her at school, and took my baby boy home with me. The house seemed so quiet without my bubbly, energetic girl to keep me on my toes. I remember sitting on the couch and crying while I cuddled little Pepper, already imagining ahead to the day when he would enter kindergarten. I cried harder at the anticipation of the agony I would feel at sending my baby to school. I remembered trying to mentally picture Snapper as a 4th grader, and I just couldn't do it. It seemed impossible that she could ever be that old or that big.
Well, today is my last Kindergarten Eve, and tomorrow is the day I could hardly imagine 4 years ago. Snapper is not only old enough for 4th grade, she is also very ready for the exciting challenges this year will bring. Pepper is thrilled to be entering kindergarten, mainly because he gets to eat lunch at school like Sissy does. He is also really looking forward to doing math, which he loves. His main concern: "Do you think there will be any adorable girls in my kindergarten class?"
As for me, my life is definitely changing tomorrow morning. At 8:20 I will drop them off, make an appearance at the kindergarten parent sob party our principal is hosting, and then I will come home to a very quiet house. I expected to be really sad because my baby is starting school. But guess what? I'm not sad. The grief I once imagined has not materialized. I am quite excited, actually. I am looking forward to having time to run laundry and vacuum the house without interruption. It will be nice to be able to sit down with a cup of tea and really enjoy my Bible study. I'll be able to go to the office 2 days each week, and I won't have to leave staff meetings at 10:30 to go pick up Pepper from Pre-K. I'll actually be able to go to the grocery store by myself during the day. If I had to choose once word to describe the way I am feeling right now, it would be WEIRD! I am quite sure that when 2:45 rolls around tomorrow afternoon, I will be delighted to jump in the car and go pick up my sweeties. I anticipate hearing all about their day; it will be fun helping them with their homework; and we will all enjoy being back together each afternoon. So while one chapter of life is closing--the parent of a preschooler chapter--another chapter is beginning. And I think this chapter is going to be really great.