If you follow me on Facebook, you have already seen that we are in a transition period over at the Nash household. My four-year-old completely gut punched me this past Monday outside of her new preschool. She didn’t literally punch me in the gut, but it definitely felt like it.
She has been at home with me practically her whole life up until last week, when she started school. I had mentally prepared for her to be the kid hanging on to the door handle of the car as the teachers were prying her away every morning. I was incredibly happy when things did not transpire this way. She was actually very excited to get away from me.
This first week went off without a hitch. No tears from her or I. I did not cry like I thought I would, but instead I felt immensely proud of her, and I know she felt proud of herself, as well. She was a big girl now, going to big girl school (which is only three days a week for three hours a day.) Baby steps, right? These baby steps I soon realized were more for me than her.
She only goes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The first Tuesday that she woke up and realized she didn’t have school that day like her big sister, cue complete meltdown.
Going from spending almost every waking moment with her “momma” for the last four years to starting school. Yes, that is a transition, but that is not the transition I am referring to.
The transition I am referring to is my new title, and not one I was really working toward, at least not just yet.
This past Monday after I dropped Emerson off at school, we made our way to Ashton’s new school. We pulled into the drop off driveway. She climbed up front and strapped her backpack on. As her teacher approached the car to help her out. She looked back at me and said, “Bye Mom,” before hopping out and walking in.
I don’t even think I said anything back. I just sat there in disbelief staring after her with my mouth wide open, wondering to myself if I heard her correctly. Did my four-year-old baby actually just call me, “Mom?”
I have spent every day of my motherhood journey being called, “Momma.” It was all three of my girls’ first word. A word I hear about 5 billion times a day. A word that makes up most of my identity as a human. A word that I realized in this moment that I take for granted.
I may not have cried on her first day of school, but I definitely cried on her fourth. How could this be happening already? I am not ready to be “Mom” yet. It doesn’t sound appealing at all. When I think of the word “mom,” I think of mom buns, mom jeans, helicopter mom, soccer mom. None of those sound like much fun to me.
I thought back to my childhood trying to see if I could remember when I started calling my mother, “mom.” It had to have been those preteen years. I surely gave her more time than this to prepare herself. I didn’t even know until that moment that this was something I needed to prepare myself for.
After I cried though, I felt overwhelmingly proud again. Another accomplishment, another milestone, another day of watching my baby grow up. That is the whole end goal of parenthood after all – to equip your children with the life skills required to be functioning, contributing adults, confident in themselves and able to forge a path of their own in this world.
Even if I am not ready, I will take on this new title of “Mom” with a little bit of sadness, but mostly with pride. Now, if she starts calling me, “Bruh,” that is where I draw the line.
(Paige Nash is a wife, MOM and journalist for The Webster Parish Journal.)
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