Off to School

This week, Ariana starts Pre-K and embarks on her school journey. And I am... not okay.
Although you know since the day they're born that they'll be off to school one day, it still hits hard when that "one day" arrives. I know that time will only seem to pass so much more quickly now, and that before I know it, she'll be heading off to college.
The start of school has been in the background of just about everything we've done this summer. This was the last summer with our "little" girl. We didn't go on a vacation (which, deep down, I feel like I'll regret in the future), but we did try to make fun family memories each afternoon and on the weekends. We've had fun park days, fun pool days and fun visits to family and friends' houses. 
She switched from in-home care to a daycare last fall and has truly thrived with her teacher and her little group of friends. 
Earlier this year, I struggled very hard with wondering if we were doing her a disservice by enrolling her in Pre-K when she'll be one of the youngest in the class. I struggled with major guilt and second-guessing if we should've waited another year to start her. However, we had the chance to pursue a great opportunity for her, and I didn't want us to lose that opportunity.
I remember having a session with my therapist to work through that struggle, and I left feeling more confident that she would do just fine even if she is one of the youngest in her class. And the very next day, the school shooting in Uvalde happened. It shook me to my core, and way too often since then, I have felt apprehensive thinking about school. The thought of dropping her off each morning and then worrying every day about her safety is not one of the thoughts I want to have for the next 14 years.

So, I go into this week with a lot of trepidation, but am giving myself grace to feel everything, good and bad. It's been a tough emotional struggle, but I know that for me, the hardest part is worrying about what's to come. Once it's here, at least I'm able to handle it day by day.

All of that aside, I do know I'm extremely proud of my daughter for all that she's accomplished so far. She's been so adventurous and brave, and I enjoy watching her learn and conquer new skills. I know that she will enjoy 'big girl school'.

The other day, I told her I was excited for her to start Pre-K but that I was also sad she won't be so little anymore, and she said, "It's just going to be okay, Mama!" That's my sweet girl.

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