The Last Preschool Day
Eleven and a half years ago, I held the hand of a little blonde girl. She wore overalls and a bright blue t-shirt that set off her eyes and a purple backpack with a big yellow smiley face on it. We walked, hand in hand, to a little brick building on a little lake. She found her name at the table, sat down and didn’t even look over to wave goodbye.
Yesterday, I dressed a little brunette in her swimsuit and pulled a sundress over top. I packed her beach towel into her purple backpack and sent her off with Big Daddy because I knew I was going to be a crying mess and decided to spare everyone the unpleasantness of me having a break down in the pick up line.
It was the very last day of preschool.
Part of me is more than ready. Over the course of my fifteen years of mother hood, I have spent more than half in the preschool years. I’m tired of the pick up and drop off line and the truncated days which leave me not enough time to do the things I want to do myself nor enough time to do the things I want to do with my preschool kid.
Part of me will never be ready. Eight years of fingerpaintings and pint sized backpacks isn’t nearly enough.
Yesterday was the very last preschool day after eight years of them.
When school starts in the fall, Baby Bee and I won’t get a couple of weeks of alone time as her sisters head off for school and we wait for hers to start. I won’t send in a clean pair of clothes and undies for accidents. I will retire her pint sized backpack for a bigger, kindergarten variety that will, once again, dwarf her. I won’t drive her to school in the morning, she’ll catch the bus at the end of the drive way with Littlebit. The house will be quiet all day. I won’t have to watch daytime children’s televison from Monday through Friday.
What I’ve learned, having done it twice already, is that when your child enters Kindergarten they begin to have a life that is their own apart from you in a way they did not as a preschool aged child. Kindergarten is the end of little kid days, no matter how much you try and stretch it out and we have stretched it out as far and as long as possible. On a warm August morning, just a few months away a fairy will wave her wand over Baby Bee and she will be a little kid no more and it will be bittersweet like big changes like this always will.
But, I’ll have a Kindergartener again and Kindergarteners are part magic, too.