Do you sleep at college?” The question came out of the blue while Julia Reynolds and I were at the pool. It’s as if she knew I’d been working on this column that very afternoon about her growing up so fast and getting ready to go to kindergarten.

I wasn’t sure I’d heard her correctly. “Sleep at college or in college?,” I asked. She said at college.

“Yes, you do. You move to college and sleep there,” I replied with the slightest lump in my throat.

“Nooooo! I don’t want to go to college. I will miss you!”

Her last mention of it was that it would be a looooonggg time before she went to college, as she happily went back to swimming.

I can’t make this up. I wrote it down right then so I wouldn’t forget her words. I returned to my work after putting her to bed, knowing that college will come all too fast. {Insert bawling face emoji here!}

Right now, our sights are set on kindergarten! I simply can’t believe we are sending our baby to real, big girl school! We celebrated her turning five in July, though it feels like we just brought her home from the hospital.

Julia Reynolds will be continuing at the school where she attended preschool, and she won’t be boarding a big yellow school bus. Somehow those two things are making it feel slightly less looming. I guess the only way to explain it is I don’t feel like I’m shoving her into the great big world; in a way, we’ve eased into this new chapter, a few toes at a time, over the past two years. It makes the end of preschool and beginning of elementary a little less jarring.

That said, the milestone is a huge piece in the game of life. To think of how much I remember of my own kindergarten experience is also remarkable to me. I remember my teacher and the classroom like it was yesterday. A few names and faces of classmates still ring a bell, and I can recall actual conversations and things on the playground and picture what my handwriting looked like. I know Julia Reynolds will have a handful of earlier memories, but it’s crazy to think this will be a year that will go into her forever memory bank.

Like many of you, I am looking forward to getting back into a routine. We’ve maxed out our summer days, falling asleep watching movies, letting pool baths count, enjoying long weekends, and even taking our first family trip to Disney World. Early bedtimes, more vegetables, and a bit more structure will be good for all of us.

August came fast… nearly as fast as kindergarten crept up on me. It feels like yesterday I was walking into lunch with my best friend with our baby girls in their infant carriers, just two and four-months-old at the time, when a man passionately yelled across the parking lot, “Enjoy every moment!! It goes so fast!”

I believed him. And I believed the dozens and dozens of other people along the way who told me the exact same thing.

Ready or not — Julia Reynolds is coming for you, kindergarten. But please, college, slow your roll!

After twelve years in local news, most recently as evening anchor of NBC 26, Paige Tucker is now a work-at-home mom and freelance journalist. She produces two series for NBC 26 TV, First Responders and 26 Women Today, and you can see those stories on Tuesday nights. Paige and her husband have one daughter, Julia Reynolds, who is five years old.

This article appears in the August 2019 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
Did you like what you read here?