When I first got married, I immediately felt like I had been inducted into a super secret society of women who now had to feed and care for a husband. It was sort of like we were all in this wild thing together and together we would share with each other the highs and lows of being married. Support each other, laugh with each other and side with each other when we thought our husbands were officially crazy. Kind of like The Babysitters Club but for married women.No longer would I have to sit on the sidelines of the wives swapping stories over the coffee pot in the break room at work. Now I could offer a sympathetic nor or even chime in with my own wifely experience. It was awesome.
When I had my first baby, again, I felt like I was inducted into yet another super secret society of women, this time, the society of Mothers. Don't get me wrong, I loved being in the Married Club and sharing tips and tricks to upholding my half of a successful marriage but being in the Mothers Club was way more fun. There was baby things to be talked about, lot's of cute, sweet-smelling, pretty little baby things to be learnt and although the nitty gritty tips and tricks to baby-raising weren't neither as cute nor sweet-smelling, they were just as invaluable and fun to discuss.
Just like the Married Club, the underlying theme of the Mothers Club is that "Yes, We're All In This Together." No matter where you are in your journey as a mother or a wife, there will always be a small part of you that can empathize with whatever a mother or wife around you is going through at the moment. Another moment of sheer awesomeness.
If you happen to be a part of Facebook or Instagram, then I'm sure you've noticed the flood of "First Days" pictures in your feeds. From pre-school to high school, parents everywhere are photo-documenting their childrens' first days of school. Pictures of them dressed to impress on the front porch, pictures next to their first cubby or first locker, pictures on their first bus ride and pictures getting behind the wheel of their first car perhaps on their way to their last first day of high school.
Prior to becoming a mother, these pictures, although cute and sweet, meant nothing to me. I would scroll quickly through them, glance over them,paying little to no attention to them, not thinking for a second about the nervous yet proud mother standing behind that camera.
The mother who, although so excited for this momentous occasion, was equal parts anxious and worried for their child. Hoping against all things that they would have a great day, make new friends, feel included. That they would understand how lucky they were for this opportunity to stretch their wings and learn all there is to learn within those now unfamiliar walls.
As I sent my first-born off to his very first day of pre-K 3 earlier this week, I knew exactly how those mothers were feeling. I knew exactly the flood of emotions that came over them as their kissed their babies' heads the night before and how they may have blinked back tears in the front seat of the car as they drove their baby off to school. To where someone else would be responsible for their care, even if only for two and a half hours each day.
How through reassuring their children of how great their first day would be, they were also reassuring themselves. They were going to be okay, too.
Sure, there will be many more First Days ahead. First days of Kindergarten, of Middle School, of High School, even first days of First Jobs but no matter which First Day you celebrated this week, it will always be a reminder of how fleeting time is. Of how numbered your days are with your children.
A reminder that no matter how much or how hard you love them, they are not yours and yours alone to keep forever.
One day, when they find themselves blinking back the tears as they let go of the hand of their first baby on his first day of school, they will finally understand what it feels like to let their heart go walking around outside of their body.
They will be able to look at that woman, waving frantically at the school bus, keeping pace with it as it rounds the corner to leave, carrying her precious cargo, and they will understand.
And just like that, they'll earn another badge in that super secret society of Mothers.