dad daughter school

Back to School: Hours Away From Kindergarten

dad daughter school
Outside Beanie’s kindergarten class

As I sit here writing this late on a Sunday night/early on a Monday morning, we’re on the brink of a major life moment.

That’s probably why I’m having trouble sleeping.

In just a few hours, Beanie will start kindergarten.

How in the world did five full years fly by so quickly? How are The Best Mom and I parents of a kindergartner?

Look…your kids are your kids for your entire life. I get that.

But there is only a finite amount of time before they go out into the world, the product of their parents.

And while the REAL venture into the world is still approximately 13 or 17 years away, depending on when you stop counting, this is a big effing milestone on the journey. And one where our Beanie begins to peel away from us.

Sure, she’s been in daycare since she was nine weeks old. But the daycare was in my wife’s office building. And she was surrounded by teachers, friends, and parents she had known since she had been there. Basically, in her entire conscious life, she has never faced a restart like she is going to face by the time you read this.

I remember every single moment of the day she was born – which is a great story for another time. But there are two particular moments from that day that I think about often.

  1. Beanie was being examined on the warming table. I tried to check on The Best Mom who was still in the bed and Beanie reached her hand out to stop me from leaving her side. Just minutes old, she squeezed my finger at the sound of my voice.
  2. Later, when the doctors and nurses cleared out of the room, I shared a quiet moment with my daughter. I left her up and touched our noses. We still do that today.

Now, a heartbeat later, our little Bean is starting a new chapter in her life. New adventures await. New things to explore.

And for parents, kindergarten brings new challenges, too. New school. New teachers. New routines. New letting go.

My first baby is going to kindergarten. And every time I look at her, I want to cradle her like I did that first night, give her a nosy, and rock her to sleep on my shoulder.

But I can’t. It’s time to let her go. And come home after school to tell me about all things she learned and all the friends she made. I may sneak in a nosy.

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“I Love You All The Love”

1528556_10152123734075148_564563917_nEvery single day, I tell all of our children the same thing:

I love you all the love.

[As in, all the love that does, has ever, or will ever exist…that’s how much I love you.]

Maybe it’s just a media thing, but how many stories/movies/shows have you seen where the dads can’t mutter “I love you?”

And the fallback response is “they know how I feel.”

Do they, though?

Do kids know how you feel about them if you don’t explicitly tell them?

My hypothesis (driven by no actual science, but by life as a parent of three kids and as a son who heard his dad say he loved him all the time) is that there is no way they can know unless you constantly tell them.

Case in point: Two years ago, my daughter made me watch all three Madagascar movies…about 25 times each, not exaggerating. Now she does not remember them at all. I’ll repeat: she does not remember movies

Us parents, though, we remember what happened two years ago. I will never be able to get certain scenes from those movies out of my head.

As kids grow, they lose their earlier memories and the only reality they know is what is presented to them. By you.

And sometimes it may get cumbersome. Like this recent chat I had with Beanie:

 

Me: Beanie, I love you.

Beanie: DADDY! I know that already. You don’t need to tell me that EVERY DAY!

Me: Yes, I do need to tell you. What if you don’t know?

Beanie: How about this? I’ll tell you the days that I forget that you love me and you can tell me then.

Me: ……………………..I love you.

Beanie: DADDYYYYYY!!!!!!!

Here’s the thing, though: I don’t care. I don’t care how old they get. I don’t care if it embarrasses them in front of their friends. I don’t care if they want nothing to do with me that day.

All I care about is that they know – on each day, no matter what – that their dad loves them.