I saw my baby get on the school bus this week. I can describe it as a tame trauma for me. Almost like someone ripped her from my heart and threw her on a big vehicle without any seat belts. I spent more than 3 years in paranoia about buckling her properly in a 5-point harness, then felt scared and strange when I switched her to an over-40-pound seat that sits loosely in the car using only the car's shoulder/lap belt. Now my baby is bouncing around in a bus with no protection.
The seat belt is a metaphor for my ties with her and my level of need in her life. She needs me infinitely but it is not because of her fragile inability to survive as it was in her first year. Putting her on a bus is my first step in letting go and when I am proud of her, I am proud of myself.
In reality, the teachers and staff at her elementary school give them lots of support and reassurance and they are there every step the kids take. All the little kindergartners were scared and nervous and confused. Gabby had a lot of fun at school, which makes me think they aren't doing that much work at the moment, but I am happy for her!
When she gets off that bus, I am now the one who is twiddling my thumbs with anxious excitement to see my beloved. I am the one checking the clock to see when she will come rambling up the street. I look like she did when she was a baby and I returned to her after hours of being apart. I like the color yellow. It symbolizes her growth, her independence, my constant reshuffling of my emotions as a parent, and it symbolizes her return to me.