Thursday, August 13, 2009

Off to School

At 6:25am, my sweet Andrew slipped onto my side of the bed and curled up beside me. I don't think he was awake just yet. I enjoyed the few moments of quiet before the loud vibrating of Mike's cell phone startled us out of dreamland. (Seriously, who knew that a phone could vibrate loud enough to wake one up?)

6:45am and the morning routine began. Our new routine. My baby is going to school today. I realize he's only in preschool, and it is just 3 hours, 4 days a week, not the whole day, but this is monumental. We brushed our teeth, did hair, put on clothes (checked to make sure he could button and unbuton his shorts himself), checked and re-checked the backback (breakfast money- check, I love you note from Mommy- check, no sneaky cars in the little pocket- double check), filled the brightly colored Cars waterbottle, took a few first day picures, said a morning family prayer, and we were off by 7:35.

As we rushed, hand in hand, to the little fenced-in playground, the rain gently drizzled down. I kissed my baby goodbye, smiled and told him to have a wonderful day. He gladly got into line with his little classmates and smiled a big boy smile. Only for a second did I see that look of uncertainty when I kissed him and he knew I wasn't going inside. Then he was gone into his room, in an instant. I was brave. I didn't cry, although I admit that I am just a bit as I sit and type this. Maybe the sky mercifully spilt a few tears so I wouldn't have to on this most important of mornings.

He's off to his first adventure in academia without me as his guide.

I have been preparing the both of us for this day for over 4 years. Up until now, I have been the navigator in his learning. I have been the captain of the ship, the encourager, the fellow discoverer, the cheerleader of each new skill mastered. From smiling, to sitting up, to self-feeding, to walking, to talking, to potty training, to buttoning buttons, to writing his name and learning the abc's and 123's, I have been the teacher. I must now pass this torch to another and stand in the background as the support system (although I will never truly give up my role as a teacher). I have to admit, this is difficult. There was a time where I felt I could continue to be his teacher forever. After all, I have the training and experience. A quiet voice assured me that I needed to share this wonderful boy, and I knew this was the right choice now.

I still want to be there, but I realize that for my boy, no longer a baby, progress is best now in a new classroom. He needs the experience of learning with others, the chance to resolve the little conflicts with his peers, the chance to experience the joy of learning with a new guide. Those things will allow him to stretch and grow. I know it is something that I could not give him alone. I am so blessed to live in an area with wonderful schools and good teachers. Sometimes your chicks just need the chance to fly. How grateful I am that I could be central in his learning for his first few years. I know I will continue to be there to share in his journey, learning apart and together, for many years to come.


  1. Glad things are going well. I cried harder than my daughter when she first went to school. It is hard for me to let go.

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  2. I think the realization that you are no longer going to be the center of his world is so sad and kinda frightening. I've sent 4 off to school. When I sent the last one, I went back to work myself too. I ached to be with him. I wanted to go to the park and go for a walk or play baseball, but he was off on his own adventure. I did get over it, but I am thankful I got to spend time with them at that time in their lives.

  3. It's a big mommy moment but you'll both grow and get so much out of school this year!! Congratulations to you both : )

  4. It's a wonderful and a very heartfelt post. My daughter will go to her new preschool after our vacations, and I really want to make this first day in a new school very special. It's hard for me as well to let her go, but I believe strongly that it's a right thing for her long term. I hope Andrew had a wonderful first day.