Today was Meet and Greet at my two older daughters’ school. It’s always chaotic. Of everything school related there is, nothing triggers my craziness like bringing 575 different school supplies to school and then trying to sort them into all their respective receptacles along with dozens of other kids and parents. Oh, and I get to do this all while trying to stop the wee one from destroying things.
But as stressful as it is for me, it is very exciting for my girls, and I always try to stay cognizant of that. I try to hide my level of overwhelm until we get into the car and I can silently shudder all the way home.
Today I got home and I had five minutes to kill before I had to turn around and take Magoo to softball. So I spent that time looking through the photos I took and posting them to Facebook.
A little while later, I was sitting on the bleachers during practice, and I went through those pictures again. This time, they almost took my breath away.
Because this is Goosie’s kindergarten year. Her first year as a big kid, complete with lunch box, fancy nap mat, and more glue sticks than your typical kindergartener can count. And I knew she was excited, and I knew Goosie excited gives a whole new meaning to the term, excitement. But still… when I saw those pictures, I was overtaken by the sheer amount of joy in her face.
And it broke my heart. And it brings tears to my eyes even as I type it.
And I don’t know why I feel this. I don’t know why my proudest and happiest parenting moments are also sometimes tinged with the slightest bit of sadness.
But they are.
I think it has something to do with their excitement and their innocence. It has to do with the joy that can only come through childhood. It’s born of the knowledge that one day markers won’t excite them, and a brand new sharpened pencil from their teacher won’t make them giddy.
Like everything with parenting, these moments of pure joy are reminders that this time is fleeting. It’s a snapshot. A whiff. A deep breath.
Things here today will be gone before we know it. Times will change and they will change. And as much as I desperately wish I could build a shield and keep in all that is beautiful and innocent and childlike about them, I know that they are meant for the metamorphoses their lives with take them through.
So I might mourn a bit in these joyous times. But that doesn’t stop me from enjoying them. It just reminds me to hold on to the present. And it reminds me that when your heart stretches beyond its known limits, it’s bound to hurt a little. But that’s how it grows.