Rachael Rachael, a mom of two daughters, is a freelance editor and writer who enjoys gardening and dreams of keeping chickens in her suburban St. Louis backyard. In her spare time, she helps to edit her husband’s science fiction books. Read more of Rachael's work at www.rachaelsjohnston.com or contact her by emailing rachael@mumblingmommy.com.

My youngest child has one more year before she starts kindergarten.

I’m trying to prepare myself, but I’m not doing so well. When my older daughter who is in third grade went to meet-the-teacher night this year, I got choked up walking past the kindergarten classrooms as I thought ahead to where our family will be next year. When I walked my older daughter to school on the first morning of class this year, I saw all the new kindergartners lined up with their teachers outside the building, and I got a lump in my throat again thinking about how that will be our family next year.

I still have one more entire year at home with my youngest, and I’m already reaching for the Kleenex.

Sending my last child to school all day will be a big transition for all of us, but I’m trying to make this last year count.

This is my last year to be a fully present mother with a little one still at home.

We have one more year to read story books together whenever we want. To walk to the park. To attend library story time. To bake cookies. To snuggle on the couch while watching old Peanuts movies and laughing at Snoopy’s antics. To attend all the preschool Halloween and Christmas and Valentine’s parties.

I have one more year to enjoy the way her hair smells like apple detangling spray as she sits on my lap, her head against my chin.

I have one more year to comply with her requests to be held, carried, or for me to stroke her hair the way she likes.

One more year to work with her on academic basics like letters and numbers like I did with my oldest when she was an only child, but that I didn’t have time to do after I had two children.

One more year to set aside the phones, computers, and social media to pay attention to my child.

It’s not that we can never do those things again once she starts kindergarten.

But for this brief time, it is just the two of us in the house, for a few hundred more days.

The other day, she requested a peanut butter sandwich for lunch and asked if she could make it herself. She stood next to me, her eyes level with the counter, and I handed her the butter knife loaded with a generous swipe of peanut butter. She spread it around on her slice of bread, carefully licked the remaining peanut butter off the knife while keeping her tongue away from the sharper side, placed the knife in the sink, and carried her plate to the table.

My youngest baby is growing up. Today she is mastering peanut butter sandwiches. Next year, she will be mastering kindergarten, and she will eat her peanut butter sandwiches from her lunch bag at a big round table filled with other kids.

At least, for this last year, I can still sit with her every day at our own table while we eat our sandwiches together.

Photo credit: flickr.com

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Category: Education

Tags: Kindergarten