This week I watched my first baby graduate from preschool. The parting ceremony consisted of firefly wings and headlamps, my son reciting his first solo line to a full-house crowd, snapping pictures with teachers and collecting armfuls of artwork as we headed out the doors and into the spring air one last time.
Anderson is one of only a handful of students who has been at his preschool for three straight school years – since he was two! I still remember getting choked up as I dropped him off on that very first day, swollen-bellied at nearly 9 months pregnant with his younger brother. I must have been a cocktail of emotions that month.
Over the last three years I have seen Anderson blossom as a friend, a learner, an artist… I have routinely worked up a sweat wrangling him and his brother up and down those school halls and staircases, to the car and back. (NEVER are they more bouncing-off-the-walls hyper than in the five minutes immediately following their reunion when we pick Anderson up from school.) Buckling and unbuckling car seats ad nauseam, packing lunches like a boss. No one ever tells you that THOSE moments of parenting – getting out the door, to school daily, somewhere in the ballpark of “on time” and with all their stuff, back to the car again with lunch, coats, gear, strollers, snacks… while keeping two squirming shrieking children alive and safe straddling traffic – THOSE are the Herculean tasks, the Olympic events, that make up the daily grind of your life as a parent of young kids.
I have collected enough art projects to wallpaper every room of my house. This has been a great cost-savings to us when it comes to home décor, and Anderson has taken to wallpapering his own room with gusto!
Thanks to the preschool years, I speak fluent “potty talk,” have survived diapers, pull-ups, toilet training, crib-toddler bed transitions and more middle of the night wake-ups than I can count. I have witnessed my boys become each other’s fiery opponents, and each other’s best, most beloved friends.
I have befriended many a fellow mom in 8-second conversation increments as we wait in line at pick-up, peel tantrum-ing kids off floors, share luke warm coffee at play dates (or occasionally, hot coffee while our kids are at school), and take advantage of pinterest-worthy photo opps at what are the cornerstones of our current social life season: KIDS BIRTHDAY PARTIES.
So what will kindergarten hold? More art projects and lunches I presume, and probably some deeper and more complicated learning and relationships. I am really excited to walk alongside Anderson as he is stretched and inspired in so many new ways. And – I’ll be honest – I personally plan to bask in new little luxuries such as school parking lot drop off where Jude and I both get to STAY IN THE CAR (can I get an amen?) and pretty much never having to referee Jude and Anderson inside the halls of a preschool simultaneously again (sanity, I’m coming back for you).
In all seriousness, preschool you have been sweet and good to us, notwithstanding the daily hallway wrestling sessions. You’ve taught me how to parent a student, how to advocate for him and learn what he needs most in a classroom, how to help him navigate big feelings, big ideas, and a big imagination. You’ve given me an outlet to give back to my community and serve where I could alongside a wonderful group of families and teachers. We have treasured this first school experience for Anderson and the countless ways it has paved the way for his biggest adventure yet: Kindergarten and the whole wide world of elementary school. Thank you to everyone who has walked with us on this journey – we couldn’t have done it without you. ❤
The pictures above were spontaneously taken by a friend on Anderson’s second-to-last day of school. He is adamantly against having his photo taken these days, and I should have known that these would be THE BEST photos we’d get of him all week. (Thanks, Susie!!)
So that’s a wrap for preschool: kid 1. As they so wisely say, “The days are long, and the years are short.” The preschool journey continues with Jude – and Jude alone – marching down those same hallways next fall.
I, for one, can’t wait.