Saturday, 6 August 2011

Letting Go


1. No longer needed or useful; superfluous.
2. (of words or data) Able to be omitted without loss of meaning or function.

This week has been a difficult one to blog about, to find words for. No particular reason, nothing to tilt the world on its axis and leave me speechless.  No reason to get my knickers in a twist (as my mother would - and often does -say).

Well, there was something. I suppose.

The Lily-Bug started Kindy.

I know, I know. So what? Right?

It's just that... I can count on one finger the number of times I've let her in the care of someone (other than immediate family) since the day she was born. And for the first two thirds of her three and a half years, she was the clingiest little thing in all the world - I never thought I'd send her off to kindy at all. I never thought she'd let me go.

But she did. Quite happily. Let me go.

Look at her charging off ahead of me; the little girl who is usually too scared of the road to help me check the mailbox.

She has been sooo excited about the prospect of kindy for weeks now. And I don't blame her one bit. My attempts to stave off cabin fever through the winter are failing. There are only so many times we can haul the spare mattress into the lounge and use it as a hut/crash pad/slide before the novelty of collecting bruises like they're stamps and sustaining moderate brain damage after repeat run ins with Guy Smiley's big boulder head begin to wear off. Painting, drawing, squishing play dough, rainy trips to the park, watching Little Einsteins over and over, tickle fights, straining mum's neck while using her as a human jungle gym.. It all gets a bit mundane.

No no don't stay Mummy! You drop me off here and pick me up later! I'm alright!

I fully expected her to enjoy Kindy. I just didn't expect her to declare "I don't wanna go home mummy!" when it was time for us to leave that first day. And I tell you (whoever you are - if anyone is there at all), that statement was like a wee knife to my gut.

A still small voice inside my head tried to counsel that it was nothing personal, and that the Lily Bug's eagerness to drag from home that spare mattress, stuff it in the bright yellow tunnel of Kindy's playground and bunk down for the night, was entirely expected given that she was crazy excited and fully willing to continue playing for at least another 18 hours.

The voice of reason is too damn quiet for me to hear at the best of times.

I bet myself up all night long, and all throughout the next day, questioning my entire parenting ability. Or lack of ability? Why didn't she want to come home? Is it because I lost my cool and yelled on the weekend when she was having that meltdown about the shower plughole? Am I a terrible mother because I use the computer while the kids are watching their morning kids programs? Am I failing as a parent because I let them watch tv at all? No, it's because I yelled on the weekend, isn't it? And, truth be told I think I yelled on Monday too... And probably the week before...

During Wednesday's Kindy session, I left her for the last hour, and throughout this time I fretted that she'd yell "go away mum! I wanna stay here!" upon my return. I knew if this scenario came true, I'd cry. In front of the teachers, in front of the parents picking up their kids, in front of my own children... I'd bawl my goddamned eyes out.  It was a scenario that played over and over in my head so clearly, the fear of it all but squeezed the air from my lungs.

Then it came to crunch time. 2.50pm. I walked through the Kindy doors with no small amount of trepidation, and found my little Lily-Bug sitting anxiously on a teacher's knee, waiting for mummy. She ran to me, threw her arms around me in a massive bear hug, all but squeezing the air from my lungs - and this time I welcomed the feeling.

“Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.” — Herman Hesse