This morning we are taking our three-year-old son to preschool.
I am only mildly hysterical, pacing around the house, worried about socks and the speed at which we are eating our waffles. Austin has dismissed me from the room twice. “We don’t really need two irrational people in here.”
Well the other one is you, buddy.
For the first few years, I thought we wouldn’t send him. I thought I’d keep him home with me, find playdates when we could, and learn our ABCs on our own. I thought, “Hey! Let’s wait until Kindergarten! When he’s older! Wiser! When all his chest hairs come in!” I even laughed along with moms who said “preschool” was synonymous with “daycare” and hah-hah-hah we don’t need to do anything like that.
Over and over in parenting, I am surprised. I learn to wait and see.
Waylon already knows his ABCs. Even so, I’m not sending him to put him on an academic track to Harvard. I’m also not sending him for the babysitting or to spend more time with Eva. I’m sending him because he’s bored. Because I’m not one of those moms who does craft time or organized play time or sits down and does a puppet skit about sharing. I’m sending him because we don’t have a big backyard or a rural landscape to roam or neighbors the same age. Because he’s trapped in a house with a squeaky baby and writer mom who is always saying, “shhh–I just need five more minutes.”
I’m sending him because I care about him and believe he will thrive.
I know I am not the first blubbering parent to send my first, precious, newborn spawn to preschool and be sad about it. Wonderful parents have been leaving their wonderful babies in the care of others for hundreds of years and for the love—get it together. Still, this boy and I have been together every day for the past 3.2 years, and while it is only a few hours a week, it is a separation we are not used to.
Last night I drew a tiny heart on both our hands so he could look at it today during school and know I’m always with him; cheering him on, knowing how brave he can be. Someday I hope he looks back and thinks, “Wow, my mom was a psychopath but she did love me.”
It’s really fine.
The start of school does a lot of things to mom hearts. For some it elicits joy, for others–fear and worry. Underneath it all, we’re all just rooting for our kids (and hoping no one throws up).
Cheers to teachers who care and encourage and love on these babies from preschool to that final walk across the graduation stage.
Here we go.