The Difference A Year Makes

Last year, at this time, I was a nervous wreck.

I barely slept the night before. I tossed and turned and hugged my little boy tight throughout the night as he slept beside me in bed. I woke up early and dressed myself and my son and slowly carefully drove the 12 minutes it takes to get from our house to our destination.

It was my son’s first day of school.

He was only going to a two-day-a-week preschool program from 9-12, but it was the first time he had ever been away from me. He had never had a babysitter and I rarely even let family watch him. To be honest, he had never even been with my husband alone for more than 4 hours. The school separation was going to be a huge deal, for both of us.

When I dropped my son off in 2011, he screamed and cried and I finally had to leave him crying there while I walked out under the teacher’s advisement that he would stop crying and settle more quickly if I was gone. This, I knew was true. I used to be a teacher, after all. But it didn’t make it any easier for me to be the mommy that had to leave my crying baby nearly in tears myself.

With mixed emotions of apprehension and excitement, I drove away from the school and went to Starbucks. I ordered a Pumpkin Spice Latte, and made myself comfortable in one of the bar seats facing the window. I watched as people scurried to work or shopped at the outdoor mall. I felt pangs of quilt and frivolity for the luxury of being able to people-watch on a Thursday morning when most people were working or in school. I felt unencumbered and oddly uneasy with my new-found alone time.

After trying to enjoy my latte and spending a little too much time in my own head, I decided it was time to leave Starbucks. Except it was only 10:15. And so I drove to my son’s school and sat in the parking lot until noon, anxiously awaiting pick up time. I just did not know what to do without him for that long. I felt like a piece of me was missing.

This year, at this time, I was ready.

As it turns out, I got pretty used to my two mornings off a week last year. I spent most of last year re-discovering my identity outside of motherhood and I felt pretty exhausted after a long summer with very few breaks from constant toddler care.

The night before, my son slept in his bed while I slept in mine, (for the first half of the night anyway).

This year, my son is going into the three-year-old class three days a week from 9-12, but with extra curricular activities of soccer, art and gymnastics after school each day, so I will be picking him up at times ranging from 12:30 to 1:00pm. His school is no longer a new environment, but a trusted and nurturing one.

We were both excited for school and I may have driven a little over the speed limit to get us there.

I walked my son in and dropped him off in his new classroom. Though he was a little hesitant and a bit nervous when we arrived, he became distracted with washing his hands in the new (to him) big boy bathroom in the three-year-old class. I gave him a quick kiss on the cheek, said, “Mommy loves you,” and slipped away with no tears from either of us.

This year, I went straight to Starbucks, ordered my Pumpkin Spice Latte, and drove home to my house where I set up my laptop, lit a candle, and spent some time enjoying the fall weather, listening to music, blogging, and soaking up every second of my blissful alone time.

This year, I may or may not have been a few minutes late to pick him up.

What a difference a year makes.

First Day of School Pics

Noah’s first days of school. Left: 2011, 2 years old, apprehensive. Right: 2012, 3 years old, attitude.

Noah playing with play dough at school Left: 2011 Right: 2012

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Over The Moon

Over the moon might not even fully express how excited I am today, but it’s pretty close.

When I started blogging, I thought I’d try it out, see how it went, and give it a go. In all honesty, I didn’t think anybody would read it. It would just be my own little place of rambling, and if I got really lucky, I might meet some online friends.

I have gained so much more. I have met some amazing writers, found writing communities that stun me with their talent, and delighted in the joy of online communication with wonderful people.

And the weird part? People are not just reading this blog, they actually seem to like it! I am giddy with excitement. This blog thing? Might actually work out.

I am honored to share with you two blogs that have featured some amazing writers this week, and am beyond excited to say that I am mentioned! Twice!

I found Jennifer through the Yeah Write community. I have been so thrilled with the talent there, and love Jen’s contributions. She just posted April’s Best, a collection of wonderful writers and posts that will make you think and laugh. Here, she mentions my post Get Over It. Head on over to check out this collection of bloggers. They are all worth a read.

I’m not sure exactly how I came across Kristen of What She Said, but I am oh so glad I did. Fellow Richmond dwellers with toddlers, we live in similar worlds. I love her humor and honesty, and she made me a life long fan with her post The Road to One and Done. I have also loved following her on Twitter and getting to know her as a “real” person. Her words of encouragement have been so inspirational to me, and it was by her reassurance that I thought, “maybe I really could be good at this blog thing.” I am truly touched by the sweet comments she made about me in her post Friday Tapas: The Lite Edition, and her mention of my recent post, Life Lessons From the Toddler. Head on over and get to know the fabulous Kristin!

And just for a little more shameless self promotion, I wanted to let you know that I finally jumped on the bandwagon and made a Facebook page for Elated Exhaustion. Come on over and “like” it. You would make my day. http://www.facebook.com/elatedexhaustion I even updated my social media buttons so you can get to the page from there, too.

Thank you all for your support. I am so honored.

Have a great weekend!

~Julia