Post-pre-school graduation. I could not stop the tears from flowing that night….and I was confused by the overwhelming emotions that came over me. I wasn’t sure where it was coming from. I woke up the next morning – tears still streaming down my face. At this point – I’m getting frustrated because I’m not sure why it won’t stop. Reflecting on the conversation with my husband the night before – it hit me. This is life…this is change…and in a way – I am mourning this stage that I am leaving behind.
“But it’s only pre-school” my husband nonchalantly said the night before. That was his attempt at consoling me. Well, that just set me off even more…more tears rushing…my throat feels swollen – I can barely muster words. Because there’s no such thing as ONLY when it comes to my children. Looking at myself in the mirror early the next morning, as I’m rushing to get on a flight – I realized then – that’s what was bothering me. We, humans, tend to marginalize emotions or moments simply because we don’t think that THAT moment is big enough to warrant an emotional response. And while I understood Bob’s failed attempt to make me realize that there would be “bigger” moments with our daughter to come…what he didn’t realize was – this was a big enough moment for me.
It’s the loss of pre-school innocence and walking into a world of older kids, responsibilities, possible bullying and teasing and everything kids face nowadays in school.
It’s the loss of community that we experienced in her pre-school, where families actually like each other – group chats are constantly poppin’ and the sense of family, that often gets lost as your child travels from grade to grade. The kids in her pre-school had mainly been together since she started the program at 16 months old.
Ahhhh….16 months old…that’s how she entered pre-school…already knowing her ABC’s but also still toting her pacifier and walking around with a diaper butt. At five years old – she walked away even more confident and smarter than I could have ever hoped for. I watched her develop strong relationships with other girls and hold her own with the boys. I saw how her teachers all loved on her and shed tears knowing that she will be missed. That was worth some of my own tears.
Her brother’s keeper. It was her that he seeked out when he first started school at 18 months. And it was her that he continued to look for throughout the day, even when he was acclimated with his own class and had his own friends. She was his go-to. She was the big sister. His own day could not start unless he walked her to class. They checked on each other on the playground. Knowing that he would miss her at school, warranted my tears.
There’s something weird about watching your child grow…its bittersweet. I will never have those toddler years with her again. I will never not have to worry about all the things that come with putting her in a school with 1,700 other kids. That is worth my tears.
Having that revelation, I stopped getting frustrated with my overflow of emotions. Yes…maybe it was a bit much, even for me – but THAT’S OK. I realized then that I wanted to wallow in my feelings – if but for a moment. Because I don’t want to look up and say…where did the time go?? I want to be in that moment of time acknowledging that we are entering a whole new world *in my Peabo Bryson/Regina Belle voice.” Moments are not “just moments”. Its life happening. It’s shedding the old and entering new. And that can be emotional.
Now here I am…on the eve before the first day of kindergarten – I’m calm. Her book bag is packed – I’ve checked her school list over and over. I am giddy as if I am the one starting my first day. I prayed with her tonight and rubbed her head as she fell asleep. I took time out to note that this was the night before another major milestone – and life will not be the same. There is a transition taking place whether I’m ready for it or not. That was important for me to do. To be in that moment. And now I feel ready for tomorrow.
I’m excited about her future. I can’t wait to hear every day about what’s happening in her class. I plan on cherishing every moment as it zips on by. I even took a moment to recognize that tomorrow is AJ’s last first day of pre-school. I’m grateful to be part of these moment with them. And even in my moments of excitement and gratitude – that doesn’t mean a few tears won’t roll down my face in the process.
So, no Bob and world…it’s not “just pre-school” ….and no…. I won’t wait until high school to give myself permission to cry about my children growing up. I am giving myself permission to do it now. And to cry all over again….when it’s AJ’s turn.
(My husband begrudgingly approves this message 🙂
Sharing a snapshot thru the years…