Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Pre-K - Gavin's First Day of School

Today is Gavin’s first official day of Pre-K. I may have choked back a few tears as I hugged him goodbye this morning. I know he had a good day. I tried all day not to think about him. I actually know that he will LOVE school and will love being with just a couple of his old friends and make a few new friends too. He’ll thrive in school. He’s that kind of person. But me? Well, this momma wasn’t quite prepared mentally. Sure, I had thought about it. I had actually thought a LOT about it. I had planned and prepped and planned some more. I had weighed the pros and cons of the different schools, schedule options, and after-school care options, and mulled it all over and talked through it with my mom, my sisters and my friends. I had thought and thought and thought about this day. I had read the school handbook cover to cover, read and re-read the emails from the school principal. I had thought so much about it that I was focusing on the details. I researched nap mats to make sure I was sending the best option with him to school. I didn’t want him resting on phthalate-leaching vinyl every day. So I read and read and read some more about the different options of nap mats. Maybe I was focusing on the details just to avoid thinking about the big picture. Yes, this is just Pre-K… and he was in Preschool last year. But, but, but… that was different. That was 2 ½ hours per day and I walked him into and out of the classroom. All of the other Moms turned out to become friends and we were all looking out for each other’s children. It was like a daily play date and we LOVED his teacher so much I would have invited her to come live with us if she wasn’t so attached to her own family and home. I’m kidding… sort of. Not really. We really loved her a lot.

This year, it feels different. Is it because he’s wearing a uniform to school? Is it because he has a lunch account and can “buy” hot lunch or milk or snacks on his own? Is it because I drop him off outside, in the parking lot instead of walking him into his classroom? Is it because he is in school all day and then also making the transition to after-school care on his own, without me holding his hand? Is it because we don’t yet really know his teacher the way we got to know his Preschool teacher? Or is it because this is the first of many years of all-day school and there is no going back… there are no more two-hour school days. After this year, it will be five days a week, all day. No more choosing how we’ll spend our days - he'll be at school and Cliff and I will be at work and Addison will be at daycare. Before I know it, it’s going to be high school graduation. (tears)

We had orientation yesterday. It was good. It was a little overwhelming. But I was good. I felt ready. I felt satisfied and sure he’d be in good hands and he seemed confident and excited.

Pre-K Orientation Day
(He was supposed to bring a family photo and we didn't have one, so we had to take one quick yesterday morning and pick it up on the way to orientation!)

This morning went great! He dressed himself in his uniform, put on his new shoes, grabbed his lunch and buckled himself in his car seat. When we got to the school parking lot and I was stalling, digging through my bag, etc., he asked “Mom! What are you waiting for?!” He was ready.

He was the first one there from his class. He lined up on the line in the parking lot that is for his class. He was the only one there for what felt like eternity. Soon a few more kids showed up. Then his two buddies from Preschool arrived and he was glad to see them. I believe that having these familiar faces with him all day definitely made a difference, and these aren't just kids he recognized, but kids he considers good friends!

It’s the first day of school. I thought I was so prepared for this. I had planned and prepped so well. I wasn’t prepared at all. As his teacher asked him to put out his hand so that I could put a kiss in it and then he could keep that kiss with him in his hand all day in case he needed it again, I fought back tears. My throat was tight and I felt the tears welling up. I couldn’t look at him or I knew I’d lose it and my tears would start falling. I stayed distracted. I took photos. I talked to my girlfriends whose boys are in his class. I was glad he would have friends he already knew. He did great! He didn’t even look back as his class walked into school. He is ready. My little boy is strong and brave and happy and smart and funny and has a wonderful and amazing world to explore! We’ll just start with Pre-K, the rest of the world can wait. This little (big) guy is worth waiting for!

Gavin with his new teacher.
(bright, bright morning sun in the eyes!)

Headed into school with his class for his very first day of Pre-K. They all look so independent!


Big Sis said...

Right there with you even though mine is 8th grade. It's never easy but we all make it through.

Erin J said...

I hope your days are full of sunshine Kathy! This is a great time of year weather-wise to be keeping busy outside while the kids are at school!