Angie is all set for the big day. She has her new sneakers. She has her new backpack, which is red and blue and shaped like a shark. Her pencils are sharpened and her uniforms have been washed and ironed. They are hanging on tiny white hangers in her closet.
But I’m not ready. And I’m not sure I even want to be.
For so many years now, I’ve had this little sidekick, this mascot who wakes up giddy just to see me. We have done everything together – shop for groceries, visit the zoo, go to the doctor, jump in the ocean waves, explore new cities and states. We’ve moved four times in the last three years, including one move so significant that it involved two taxi cabs and a jumbo jet.
For almost five years, I’ve been Angie’s mother. For three of those years, I’ve been her single parent. I’ve also been her nurse, teacher, librarian, lunch lady and custodian. Now there’ll be other people to help fill those roles, wonderful people at her new school who will open up a whole new world for my daughter.
Angie is going to embrace that world. She is going to love everything that she is about to learn. I just know it, and I’m so excited for her.
And me, my life is about to change too. Everything I have learned about myself as a mother and everything I’ve ever been asked to do for my child, it is all going to change when Angie walks into that classroom. She won’t need me quite the same way anymore, and that has both good and bad aspects.
My little buddy is going to do great. She is going to make friends and learn so much. I’ll be OK too.