Yesterday, I took Zoë to get her hair cut. She grimaced as the stylist combed through her tangled, matted red hair (she hates to brush it or have anyone else brush it). But then her hair was free of snarls, and I watched as chunks fell around her shoulders and slid to the floor. It was if she was transforming from a preschooler to a kindergartener before my eyes. She even let the stylist give her a thin braid that framed her face, something she doesn’t usually allow.
Last night she and Stella picked out what they wanted in their lunches, excitedly pouring Goldfish into baggies and stacking mandarin oranges and containers of carrots next to the soup I would heat for their thermoses in the morning.
Zoë announced this morning that she hadn’t had enough sleep (we are up by 6), but when Stella told her she’d help her get dressed, she shook off her grumpiness. Neither of them ate much breakfast, then they put on their tennis shoes and double-checked their backpacks, and then we were outside, taking pictures, documenting the moment. “Don’t worry,” Stella said to Zoë. “I’ll walk you to your classroom.” Zoë nodded. Be still my heart.
When the bus came, Stella held Zoë’s hand as they crossed the street. I could see Stella settle Zoë by the window on the other side of the bus, and then sit down next to her. And then they were gone.
My girls are growing up. That’s the way it happens, no? I have been thinking about the years we have left with them at home, before they leave for college, and it has started to feel like it’s coming too fast. But then I have glimpses of the young people they are becoming, and I can’t help being so proud of them, of their kind hearts and fierceness and enthusiasm for life. World, get ready.
Update: Zoë had a great first day. She leapt into my arms when she got off the bus, and told me that she’d made two friends. (She could only remember one of their names, but I’m sure that will come.) And Stella reported that they got to see each other at recess, though they were playing on different playgrounds. The second morning was a little rougher because Z was tired, but I think she’ll get into the groove of early wake ups and having to wear underwear EVERY DAY. Hard stuff.