A few years ago, I wrote a blog post about when our rainbow baby, Isaac, started kindergarten. (We always called him our keeper baby.) I wrote about how overjoyed I was that he was going to Kindergarten because that meant he was thriving. I remember how I didn't cry for him. He was excited and I felt so blessed to have him growing up!
Well, if Isaac was our keeper baby, Eliza is our Bonus Fry. ("It's like Jesus is up in Heaven 'give 'em an extra fry.'"- Jim Gaffagin.) Eliza's that surprise fry in the bottom of the bag. That special, unexpected, last minute addition. She brings much joy to our family! She's my girl, and the only one of my kids that spent alone time with me (all of my other kids had younger siblings. She is the only one who stayed home alone with me during the day during her preschool years.)
That girl, our bonus fry, she started Kindergarten today. Given the choice, I'm fairly certain she would've skipped all days of pre-K to hang out with me. She's the only one of our four that didn't want to go to Kindergarten. She repeatedly asked if she could just go "a couple of days a week." She loved our "mommy and Eliza days" and was content to run errands with me on her days home.
I knew today would be sad, this ending of an era of littles at home. The unofficial closing of a chapter of babyhood in our home. This weird "growing up" of our family. But, I was underprepared for the emotions I had (and still have.) Completely. Fully. Underprepared.
Y'all, it was a doozy.
I needed someone today.
Someone to tell me to breathe, possibly in my nose and out my mouth.
Someone to tell me to release the tension I was holding.
Someone to roll some lavender on my neck. Or maybe some stress-away.
Someone to hold my hand and tell me it is ok to cry, especially when my baby girl looked over at me, in the crowded, noisy gymnasium and said "mommy, don't leave me. I'm scared."
Someone to pray for me as I prayed for my girl, since my voice didn't want to seem to obey my commands of "do not show her you're crying, too."
Someone to remind me that I can do hard things, I can do this, as I watch a single tear run down her sweet cheek.
Someone to remind me of God's promises- how He loves her more than I could ever love her.
Someone to lean on as I walked her to her class to say goodbye.
Someone to smile with me and just be near me as I released a giant sigh of relief when she hugged me goodbye in her classroom, with no tears.
Someone to guide me to my car, then sit with me in my, abnormally quiet house as I reflect on my morning.
Do they have "my baby is starting kindergarten" doulas?
They totally should.
Tracy Abney is a certified birth and bereavement doula serving Huntsville, Madison and other parts of north Alabama.