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June 06, 2019
As tomorrow marks my baby girls last day of kindergarten, I can’t help but cry at how quickly my sweet Olive is growing up. She has grown so much this year; developing her own strong opinions, feelings and solid friendships. She’s grown not just in height, but in confidence both academically and socially. While I couldn’t be prouder of her, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t mourning the shy little girl who hid behind my legs any time someone talked to her.
As she will be a first grader in the fall, I am reminded of those first few months when she was born. How could I forget? I still have PTSD from those very sleepless nights with a colicky baby. I cried at sunset every evening not knowing what that night would bring. If we had a good night, I would wash her pajamas and put her back in the same outfit in hopes that it was the clothes that brought an extra hour of sleep instead of the gas.
Olive was a first for everyone in our family. Not only Michael and my first born, but also the first grandchild on both sides. She was the apple of the eye of our entire extended family. Once Gus was born, I wasn’t sure how she would react. I was sure there would be some jealousy pangs, sleep and potty training regression and, of course, the sharing of her toys would be an issue. Oh how wrong I was! When she came to the hospital to meet him, she was elated. She was gentle. She kissed him. She held him. She was so proud of her baby brother. She was the perfect big sister.
Once we settled into our new family of four, she watched over Gus like he was her child. If his paci fell out, she was the first one to pick it back up. If Gus was crying, she tried to soothe him. The special bond between them has only grown deeper with time and it’s clear that the adoration is mutual.
Olive switched schools for Pre-K, which is probably why I am on such a roller coaster of emotions - she never graduated out of preschool. I never had to go through this momentous event. She started the pre-k year as a shy little four year old that wore a homemade crown for a good six months and ended the year with the superlative as the class Wonder Girl.
Her teachers said: “Right away we knew that this was a strong girl not only by the way she carried herself but how she always found a way to accessorize with a crown, cape, or girl power t-shirt. As the year went on, she showed her strength by being a strong anchor friend to so many of the other children in the class. She is loyal, kind, and fun. Her super strength comes from within, and she is ready to take on the world.”
Every time we have a meeting with her teachers, we hear how kind Olive is. How she stands up for her friends that are being treated unfairly. She plays by the rules, she’s loyal, she's stable and she is excited by school. While proud is an understatement of how I feel about her, I really miss her. She’s going to start school in the fall in the same building where I graduated high school. I know how quickly it’s going to go because I know how quickly it’s gone. So when Facebook served up the article of how “we only have 18 summers together” this morning, I lost it. She’s going to be in college before I know it and I already miss her.
I will use these next 12 years (only 12 more summers!!) to really try to be present. To soak her in as much as I can. To read her extra books when she wants it, to get in the pool with her and play her games while she still wants me to...even if it’s a little cold. The time we have with them is fleeting and I don’t want to waste a single day.
While her external beauty shines, her internal beauty is what makes her so special. I wish for her everything she wishes for herself and more. I hope she continues to march to the beat of her own drum even when that’s not what the majority is doing, that she always thinks she is magical and that she continues to accessorize as well as she does. She’s going to be a changemaker and a glass ceiling breaker, but she will always be my baby. Olive - you are going places, but do you have to go so quickly?
Here’s to the class of 2031: kindergarten graduates - Kid, you’ll move mountains! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So get on your way!
Just remember to send tissues to your parents who are sobbing at how fast you are growing into the wonderful people you are!
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