My daughter is a December baby, which means she was only three when she started to school. Three! She was still sucking her thumb and taking afternoon naps when she began attending Junior Kindergarten.
I will never forget her first day. It was with great trepidation that I led her to her classroom, worried there might be tears and separation anxiety. And there was - on my part!
"Bye, Mommy!" she sang as she skipped past the teacher and hurried to join the other children. Without even looking back. Not a hug good-bye nor a moment's hesitation.
I was shocked. I lingered at the door, unable to leave and blinking hard to hold back tears.
"Are you all right, Mrs. Muller?" her teacher asked.
"Yes. Fine," I replied and quickly turned away before the waterworks began.
And after a real good cry, I was fine. Because that's what parenting is all about - raising them to be independent and self-sufficient so that one day, they can strike out confidently on their own.
Luckily for us parents, it doesn't happen all at once. It occurs mostly in small steps like the first sleep-over, the first time dropped off at the movies, the first date. But occasionally the march towards independence is marked by milestones like that first day of Kindergarten or their Grade Eight Graduation (complete with gowns and tuxedos).
Recently, we celebrated another milestone. Our daughter graduated from Windsor University with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Visual Arts. And she graduated with distinction at the top of her class!
I'm reminded of the young child who was so eager to begin Junior Kindergarten. Willful, Independent and Determined. That's my daughter. Never one to accept 'No' easily, she was at times a challenge to parent. But I always knew those very traits would one day serve her well.
Megan, I could not be more proud of you. Now I think I'll go have a good cry.