Last week marked an important milestone in Annie's young life- her very first first day of school. We enrolled her in a nursery school in town that touts its program to be "a loving and gentle first school experience for three year-olds". It is your typical nursery school, complete with cheerful, sweet women who just ooze enthusiasm and speak in the same lilting sing-songy voice to children and adults alike. It really is lovely.
Annie was all smiles on her very first first day, excited to be a big girl like her Kate. I, on the other hand, was a nervous wreck. Would she miss me? Would she cry? Would I sob unabashedly right in front of her? Will she make friends? Will she pee her pants? Will she know to ask a teacher if she needs help?
However, when it came time to drop her off, I was remarkably calm. So much so that when a teacher swooped over to the car and plucked Annie out of her car seat, I simply smiled at her excited smile and wished her lots of fun. And as I drove away, I teared up a little bit, for that tiny sprite just took another step toward growing up.
That brief flash of sadness was quickly replaced by something else. Excitement. As much as I will miss having her here with me, I truly am excited for her. Excited for her to learn new things, meet new kids, discover who she is. In school she will not be the middle child, the girl who has a big sister with autism, the girl with the baby brother. She will simply be Annie.