So it's official...my son now goes to school! We found a preschool that we love and will send him for a few half days a week.
A good chunk of our weekend was spent getting ready for this occasion. We filled out a mountain of registration paperwork, packed his back-up clothes (because, you know, toddlers...) and put together his lunch, complete with a Mommy Original drawing of a butterfly. During our conversations, we'd ask him if he was excited to go to school, and he said yes, sharing that he liked his "teachers and eating" the best. He seemed to calmly understand that we would leave him in the care of his teachers and would return later on in the day.
Monday morning came, and we got him ready for school. He told us that he was going to go to school, and that mama and dada were going to be back later. So far, so good!
Off we went, to the School House, as our son called it. This was going to be his first day of being out in the real world without his parents. I was terrified, but I tried not to show it. I'm pretty confident I was successful.
The saddest moment happened right when we got into the classroom. We had done such a thorough job at explaining the process that he knew we were going to leave, which he made clear he didn't want to see happen using the biggest pout accompanied by massive tears.
My heart broke.
After we slowly forced ourselves out the door following some unsuccessful comforting, my husband and I went to a Starbucks because we didn't know what else to do with our time. It was an adjustment for us to be without our little dude. We had left him with a babysitter before in our home, but this was different. He was now in a modified version of the real world.
When we went to pick him up a brief few hours later, he cried again when he saw his mama and dada. It was an overwhelming experience for all of us, it turned out.
For a split second, I thought that perhaps we were doing the wrong thing by sending him to school so early. He missed us, and we missed him. There was an easy & obvious solution to quash that longing, right?
Packing his spare clothes made me think of him going off to college, which I don't imagine I'll ever be ready for. Why not just keep him home with us forever and ever??
But then, I thought of the chives growing on my windowsill. I watch them continue to grow and thrive, as though they're trying to reach the sun, which makes me feel happy and inspired. If I want that for my chives, wouldn't I want to offer my own child what I could to watch him reach his full potential?
Logically, I also know that we're going to go through this change at some point, whether it's now, or next year, or when he starts kindergarten. We're this far along in the process - we might as well push forward.
Our son goes back to school today, though it will be just me doing the drop-off. Then it will be just me for four hours. I plan to do some work, though I am aware that it will be very quiet in the house when I get back. That, I imagine, will be the most distracting noise imaginable.
If my big boy can get through it, then I surely can, too.