Yesterday, Pink attended her first drop-off-the-kids-and-parents-make-a-run-for it, big kid party. She is almost 5 and probably one of the younger ones there. The guest of honor was our newly-7-year-old neighbor. It was also an EVENING party, which got Pink all kinds of excited because it ended at 8:00 pm, which is normally her bedtime. Oh, she thought she was just the cat's meow!
I was a little torn about the whole drop off thing. I mean, she's my little girl and aside from pre-school, I have never left her somewhere outside of family. I walked her into the Paint Your Own Pottery Studio; party central. It was a private party, and the mother of the birthday boy was there the whole time... I've known her for years. So, it wasn't a nervousness or safety kind of thing that was tugging at me. I felt totally comfortable with all of it. And, to my pride and heartbreak, Pink did too. It was more about this: Why is she growing up so fast? Wasn't it only yesterday that she couldn't even function unless she was by my side?
I say my hellos to friends and get Pink situated before I have to leave. I was laying the excitement on thick so she wouldn't be upset at my departure, but I didn't even need to. She was shy, but excited by the prospect of being sans parent at a party. All she wants to do now is grow up. Question after question about how long until she's in Kindergarten? How long until her teeth fall out? Don't I remember she doesn't like Dora because that's for babies? When can she walk down the street by herself without a grown up? When can she swim underwater in the big pool? She insists on pouring her own cereal and juice now, and although it's often messy, I allow her this thrill. She's focused on the future as I'm trying to hang onto today and savor every sweet moment of it. She thinks it will take forever to grow up, but I'm much wiser. It will happen in the blink of an eye. It's happening right now, in ordinary moments. Growing up. Letting go.
It's time for me to leave. I lean down to kiss her goodbye and tell her that Daddy will pick her up and I'll see her at home later tonight. She fixes her giant hazel eyes on mine, and they look soulful and serious. She stares at me then reaches her hand out to touch my face. She caresses her hand slowly down my cheek, eyes locked with mine. She then softly says, with a tenderness beyond her years "Bye Mom."
A Universe of meaning in 2 simple words.
"Goodbye baby" I manage, watching her turn and join her friends before I go.