12 June 2009


Adriana Burkhart Jennifer Barko Crushed

Today was Big A's last day of elementary school.

She got up and got dressed, chattering the entire time; excited about the day, excited for it to begin, excited for it to end, as I quietly watched the being before me.

She slipped into a pair of my shoes that fit her perfectly and twirled to the mirror before us, leaving in the wake of her joyful spin a mother only able to place a hand over her mouth to quell the emotions she felt rising within.

It was yesterday, I swear, that she started kindergarten. Just moments ago that she slipped into my shoes and tugged at the hems of my skirts and looked up at me, eliciting laughter at the sight of her trying to walk in heels far too big for her.

It seems like just a month ago that I prepared her first lunch for her. Today she made it nearly on her own, truth be told, she would have been fine without my interference, had I not insisted on fumbling around in the kitchen with her, pretending to add things to her lunch, to make things better, to show her that there is usefulness in me yet, "You still need me, Big A, please, still do, because the day you don't need me, who will I be then?"

We drove into school together, a family, the three of us. I thought of the day that I drove her into elementary school, just she and I, a long winding road ahead of us, having no idea what was in store for us. Today I drove as we listened to Little A's music and looked for the deer that are out each morning.

I wish I could ride there, in that car, in that moment, every day for the rest of my life.

We pulled up and Big A hopped out; all smiles and tallness and looking so grown, kissed Little A and was off--just as she had been that first day of kindergarten.

I recall watching her outside the door after she kissed me goodbye that morning; I remember that she never turned to look back; that she just ran forward. I remember hoping for her that she would always be as such--face forward, running to what lies ahead...that she would always have that confidence and security within her.

Today I watched her tall shape walk up the sidewalk and her friends smile and laugh and run up to her, and I waited, truth be told, for just one look back.

She didn't turn around.

It made me so happy that she never hesitated or paused, I could barely feel the pain of my heart being crushed inside my chest, until the tears streaming down my cheeks belied it.


painted maypole said...

oof. my heart.

Mama Goose said...

Seriously Jenn, I have to stop reading your blog at work... sniff

My heart is crushing too as I count down the weeks until the day I bring my boy to his first day of Kindergarten. Too soon I will be where you are today - wondering where the time went and longing for it back, yet realizing I couldn't be more proud of this creature of mine.

Congrats to Big A and, more importantly, to you. You done good. (and I'd kill for legs like hers!!)

luckyzmom said...

There are so many moments like that, that we mothers wish we could freeze. As always, you've said it beautifully.

Kat said...

Beautifully written. I've been in your shoes and I so know how you feel.


Amanda said...

Gasping for breath.

flutter said...

she is so beautiful, just like her mama

Rebecca and Patrick said...

All I can think of when I look at that picture is a beautiful colt, you know? So long and lanky and past the awkwardness of childhood, becoming a gorgeous young lady!

Redsy said...

My twinnies are in 2nd grade next year and as they stretch and preen and need me less... my heart breaks.. I feel like every day I'm practicing to say goodbye *and* appreciate each and every moment.

I've not visited here in ages and it appears I've missed much.


bgirl said...

she is her mother's daughter. all your courage, kindness and willingness to keep on has now become a part of her. she slipped on more than your shoes mama. she has taken on all your best.

Jonas said...

Let's hope the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Your daughter is so very lucky...methinks she already understands that.

Christine said...

Last week my son finished fifth grade; for us, this means one more year of grade school. Next year, middle school.

On his last day fifth grade, I got a hug, a kiss, and a big, "I love you!" before he trotted off to school. I wish I could enjoy each and every one of those moments without wondering if *that* is the last time he'll do so in front of his friends.

This fall my daughter starts Kindergarten. More with the crushing.

Bon said...

they don't look back, do they? time and i are wrangling these days, me struggling to come to terms with the reality that it really is a one-way trip, that this aging thing really will happen to ME. my god.

this was beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Seriously? Come On. It's been WEEKS...

Amanda said...


Rachel said...

Oh, mama. So deep. I've been reading your blog for so long that I simply can't believe it, either.... Yes, beautiful.