Well, my Peanut's off on the big yellow bus with her sister. Our bus driver's been looking forward to this almost as much as she has. The two of them are buds, as she's been chattering to him at the bus stop since she was three and the Bean started school. So the girls got on the bus, and the Peanut immediately began walking the aisle, greeting her public.
That's my Peanut. She's got it goin' on.
And yes, I'm feeling the heartache of watching her go, and walking home from the bus stop without her for the first time. But what I'm mostly feeling is grateful to her.
I'm grateful that she still folds up small in my arms and lets me count her toes like I did when she was two, pretending to get it wrong so she can correct me. When we first started playing this game she would really check to be sure she had five toes and not six. AGAIN! she'd say, and we'd do it again.
I'm grateful that she still says AGAIN! like a toddler sometimes. Not for the toe-counting game, she purely indulges me there. But she likes a tickling game in which my hand is a spider who's scared of her and runs all around trying to find a place to hide. "AGAIN, Mommy!" I love that she's holding on to some baby-ness, even as she feels the pure joy of growing up.
I'm grateful that she's been exceptionally affectionate lately, even by her standards, and she's a very demonstrative little girl. All those extra kisses and I-love-you-Mommys and sudden joyous squeezes for no reason -- I'll take 'em. Every one. (But don't think, Peanut, that I don't notice that some of these are timed perfectly for when the Bean's in trouble for something.)
Yesterday in the car on the way to kindergarten orientation... kind of a dress rehearsal for today's real First Day... she said, unprompted, "I'm READY, Mommy! I'm REALLY READY!" And she is, she really is. She embraces changes with open arms, and a smile she can't repress even when she wants to, and a love of everything, just everything.
Oh, my baby. Off you go into this wider world. It's all yours!