My Little Aldebaran.
Hello everyone! My name is Yugao, and I am a mom writer raising two girls, ages 1 and 4.
When you are raising children, the days just fly by.
I was amazed at the growth of my oldest daughter, who had grown 7 cm in one year, and before I knew it she learned to play "Twinkle, Twinkle, Star" on the violin!
For my second daughter, we went to get her a haircut to make a taimo-fude ("a brush made of baby hair"). The fact of how time has passed as her hair grew long started to sink in briefly after.
She started to crawl up the stairs that she could not climb, screaming now with joy.
As I fight alongside my children, my emotions are like a roller coaster, fluctuating wildly day by day with never a moment to rest.
Today, I would like to share with you a small moving episode from the everyday life of our family.
- First, let me introduce our family tree🏠
- Enjoys fishing, an office worker who is skilled at fishing. A bullfighting Taurus.
- Always rowdy and goofy, but serious on the inside. A typical Capricorn.
- Ko (oldest daughter)
- Four years old. Very cautious. Seems to be already more of a dependable person than Mom. A Taurus.
- Rei (second daughter)
- One year and 2 months old. A curious girl. An Aquarius who goes her own way.
The Tearful Last Day of Preschool
March 31, 2023, was an unforgettable day for me and my oldest daughter. It was the day when she was leaving the preschool she had attended for four years since her
I didn't want to make the mood gloomy, so I sent her off in the morning in high spirits.
Since the last day was also the end of the school year, a farewell party was scheduled in the class.
When I picked her up in the evening, her homeroom teacher gave a detailed account of the farewell party.
"The girl giving the bouquet bawled. Then all the other children started crying, too."
I was surprised.
She is still a young child. I thought that she did not really understand what goodbye meant. Nonetheless, I realized that she was more sensitive than I had imagined.
My oldest daughter stood a little further away from me and listened shyly.
"You're a popular girl, Ko, so I'm sure you'll do well at your new preschool!"
Her homeroom teacher kindly said to her, and they parted with a high-five at the end of the day.
We left the classroom and were walking down the stairs. We ran into the teacher who had been her homeroom teacher for three years since the 0-year-old class.
Even though the teacher was leading the children from another class, she stopped us.
"Ko! Today was your last day, right!"
As soon as I saw the teacher's face, I was flooded with memories.
My oldest daughter and everyone around me were startled.
Before I knew it, I found myself crying aloud.
Death to Japan with No More Preschools!
It was the spring of 2019 when she was accepted into the preschool.
A few years before that, a shocking word ran through Japan, which was "Death to Japan with no more preschools."
It started with an anonymous blog.
A mother who could not get her child into a preschool expressed her outrage by saying, "How am I supposed to thrive!!"
These words were spread all over the Internet and caused a controversy.
While many sympathized with the seriousness of the issue of waiting children, others criticized her for her foul language.
I, however, had a slightly different view.
The spirit of "Death to Japan with no more preschools" is impressive to begin with.
I, too, am working in my own way. I don't want to give up my career if I can help it.
Nonetheless, I didn't have the same courage to say, "Death to Japan with no more preschools."
When I had children, I did not want to leave them in preschool.
I thought that while someone else could take my place at work, only I should be able to fulfill the role of mother to my children.
In hindsight, I think I was much more preoccupied with child-rearing than I was with work.
Babies cry day and night, they put everything in their mouths, and you can't take my eyes off them for even a single moment.
Nonetheless, I was happy with the process of their gradual growth, and childcare leave was a happy time for me.
I even thought that if they dropped out of preschool, it even might be an excuse for me to stop working.
In fact, I only wrote down one preschool of my choice on the application form.
However, I was given an offer from the preschool.
Numerous Events Canceled Due to the Pandemic
My oldest daughter was sent to preschool for a part of her life before she could remember.
However, there were actually many advantages to leaving her there.
What I liked the most was that they were dedicated to "play" to draw out the children's interests.
Crafts related to seasonal events. In the summer, playing in the water. Making colored water and enjoying the feel of ice, etc.
Going to a pond with tadpoles, experiencing Eurhythmics and English, etc.
It was a very enriching curriculum that could not be done by one family.
Unfortunately, the world has been hit by the pandemic since early 2020 and many events had to be canceled.
My oldest daughter's preschool was no exception, and we were disappointed each time that sports events and parent-teacher conferences had to be canceled.
Nevertheless, I can only thank the teachers who took extra care not to hinder her emotional growth.
Daily Kiss and Ride and the Morning Drama "Come Come Everybody"
During the past four years, our family has moved to a new location and had a second child.
When we moved, we wanted to change preschools.
However, I was not able to do so during my childcare leave and had to ride my bicycle via a 6 km round trip to and from the preschool every day.
During my maternity leave for my second child, I watched the morning drama "Come Come Everybody" from three seasons ago right before picking up and dropping off my child.
"Come Come Everybody" is a story about a grandmother, a mother, and a daughter who lived in three different eras: Showa, Heisei, and Reiwa, and for the first time in the history of morning dramas, there were three heroines.
Apart from the story, the theme song "Aldebaran" and the opening movie were so amazing that I cried every morning.
The opening scene was a frame-by-frame cutout, with three generations – the grandmother, mother, and daughter – connecting the screen as if passing the baton.
At first, I was watching it while projecting myself into the role of the daughter living in the Heisei era.
However, later on, I was projecting my oldest daughter onto the daughter character.
As the story progressed, our perspectives switched.
My Little Aldebaran.
On our way home from preschool, I unexpectedly met her old homeroom teacher, and all my memories of the past four years came flooding back.
The preschool we had never intended to go to. A class she had attended before she could even walk yet.
The place where I went to work with a feeling of being pulled back at first.
Before I knew it, I had made many friends. ......
For a while, I had some regrets.
Could she have attended it without transferring her to the nearby preschool?
Even if it wasn't the same preschool as her younger sister, would it have been more enjoyable for her to stay with her good friends until graduation?
However, her former homeroom teacher was cheerful.
She said, "Please, don't cry! Ko wanted to do her best because she was in the same preschool as Rei (my second daughter). She said that since it was Rei's first time at preschool, she would protect her."
I was shocked at what the teacher said.
Even though she herself would be lonely, she still thought about protecting her younger sister with her little body…
As feelings erupted, the music of "Aldebaran" started playing in my head.
Aldebaran is the first-magnitude star of the constellation Taurus.
The word is derived from Arabic and means "that which follows."
The name was given because Aldebaran follows the Pleiades as it rises from the eastern horizon. Aldebaran is also called atoboshi ("trailing star") in Japanese.
Each and every moment of a child's growth is time that is irreplaceable.
A precious time that, if you let go of, will never come back
As a mother myself, I have my share of doubts and regrets.
However, I have come to realize that children can grow up on their own without worrying too much. I have experienced that children have the very power to do so.
Someday, what follows-
The light, passing me by.
I squinted at the back of my daughter, who just had grown a little bit stronger.