When Will started kindergarten it took Hallie and me several months to adjust to spending so much time together, just the two of us. We were both so used to Will acting as a buffer that our relationship, at least in those early days of one-on-one Mother-Daughter time, felt a bit rough around the edges.
Eventually Hallie and I settled into a comfortable rhythm. It helped that we kept the same general Friday routine - breakfast, gym, shower, errands, lunch, baking, cartoon, pick up Will - but changed up small details, like which errands we ran or whether we ate lunch at home or a restaurant. We knew what to expect during the day, but gave ourselves permission to have a little fun along the way.
The best part of our Fridays came after lunch, when we pulled out the recipe books or opened up all of the saved recipes on my computer and started making messes in the kitchen. We baked cookies, cakes, cupcakes, brownies, pies, cobblers, crumbles, crisps, and breads. We tried new recipes and returned to classic favorites. She learned where we keep all of the baking ingredients, how to measure (though she still has no idea what the heck is going on with fractions), how to stir, and how to operate the hand-held mixer, stand mixer, and bread machine.
After licking the beaters, Hallie's favorite part of baking was watching. She would sit on a stool in front of the oven or climb up on a chair so she could watch our baked goods take shape. Once she actually watched a pie bake for all 48 minutes it was in the oven.
Last week I pulled out and set up the bread machine on my way out the door to run errands. When I returned home and walked into the kitchen a couple hours later the sight of the bread machine sitting all by itself on the counter stopped me in my tracks. I suddenly realized that our Fridays - spent together, just the two of us - had come to an end.
Hallie and I were both ready for her to start kindergarten, and thus far Hallie's kindergarten year has been a great one. She loves her teacher, has lots of fun with both her old and new friends, enjoys learning new things, and has embraced the added freedom that comes with elementary school. I love that both kids now operate on the same school schedule, that I have an extra hour in the afternoon to write or tackle projects around the house, and that I can ALWAYS shop for groceries by myself.
She's happy and safe, so I don't worry about her. I stay very busy, often see her while I'm working at school anyway, and know that we get to spend afternoons together, so I don't miss her.
Except on Fridays.
On Fridays I miss her.