I can't believe that my baby boy is ready to start pre-school. Though it's a Time for Two's class at our church, it is still two days a week and we are calling it school. For the last month we have been talking about school, reading Llama Llama Misses Mama - the cutest book about a little Llama's first day of pre-school and how his Mama always comes back to get him, we got our back to school haircut complete with a "blue lolly" (every lolly is blue as far as Jack is concerned), all around have tried to prepare Jack for this change so it would be a positive transition and experience.
The big day came and Daddy took a later train so he could be here to see us off. There were pictures on the front porch in our new outfit and Thomas the Train backpack. There was a bit of excitement in the air as Jack kept repeating "school school". My biggest worry was dropping him off because we hadn't been going to church very faithfully this summer and it had been awhile since I had to drop Jack off and leave him. It was parent orientation day though, so I knew I be there at least for a little while.
As we walked through the building Jack was crying a little bit and saying "No! No school" the reality setting in a bit. Once we got in the classroom though Jack was surprisingly fine! Off he went to see the fish tank and then there was just one toy after another that caught his attention. He was happily playing within minutes. A big sigh of relief. I was so proud of him that he just jumped right in. All the parents sat down to listen to the main teacher go through the year and I kept watching him out of the corner of my eye. I watched as another boy came up and grabbed a toy from him, my heart just breaking because I couldn't intervene. Jack was fine and just found another train but when the same boy took that train from him too, Jack grabbed it back, inside I was thinking "Good for you!" until Jack got smacked right in the face. Immediately, his eyes searched for me and I lumbered over parents sitting crossed legged on the rug to scoop up Jack and comfort him. Within a minute he hugged me and scampered down to keep playing. Once the meeting was over, with him so happy and content, I backed out of the room with Lucy so I wouldn't upset him with a big good bye. Walking back to the office to chat with the director and give Lucy a bottle, I was full of mixed emotions.
Happy that Jack had adjusted perfectly and there were not too many tears, relieved I had been there for his first scuffle, and sad that I know there will be many times I will not be there to comfort him and wipe away his tears. Letting him go in this first big milestone is definitely going to be harder on Mommy than Jack.
So off I went to run to Costco. I was wandering so slowly trying to kill time - filling my cart. About 35 minutes into shopping I checked my phone and had a message from the pre-school. My heart dropped: "Just to let you know, all the other parents and children are gone and Jack is here all by himself. He is OK, but crying a bit and asking for Mama." WHAT?! I literally leave a full cart in the middle of Costco and I am running to my car with poor Lucy under my arm. Apparently, it was only optional to leave on Orientation day and ALL the other parents stayed and then left early with their kids. I was so upset! All the preparing, the Llama Llama book at least 30 times and Jack watched all other kids walk out the door with Mommy and I was no where to be found.
Of course he was just fine, having a snack with the teachers and not really wanting to leave when I came to get him, but I was devastated. I just couldn't get over feeling like I let him down, or screwed up. I couldn't figure out how I was the only one who didn't get the memo to stay.
I realized as the day went on and I had a chance to think about it: I will never be a perfect Mother. I will make mistakes, I will be late, I will have to leave him somewhere crying while he adjusts to new things, I will yell instead of calmly discipline, I will disappoint him - sometimes for his own good- sometimes for mine, things will happen that will forever lay heavy on my heart. I still live with the small scar on his face when our dog bit him when he was 8 months old. Some scars we'll see, others we'll both need to learn to cope with. Part of growing up is letting go - and I mean me not him. I'm so proud to have such a happy, outgoing big boy who will love school, but I am sad too as I watch my lil guy put his hat on backwards, ask for his back-pack, and head into his newest adventure.