"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Thursday, May 26, 2011

preschool diaries: el fin

As I was walking into school on Tuesday to pick up Evan, his teacher, on car-pick-up duty, waved me over. "He fell on the playground," she started...[Uh-oh. Evan does not do well with injuries that require attention.]... "and needed a Band-Aid." [And he completely melts down at the mere mention of Band-Aids.] I could only imagine what that scene could have looked like.

She assured me that it was a superficial injury, but one that produced blood, and so required attention. I knew that it killed his day. (And killed the progress we had made towards wearing shorts consistently...blood and bandages on his knee? Damn.)  She confirmed that it did, in fact, ruin his day. She said that it took him a really long time to recover and that even once he did, he hung out right next to her until the very end. I was thankful for the head's up....so I could be extra lovey and sympathetic when I saw him. I was also grateful for the warning as to what my afternoon was likely to look like.

Sure enough, my little buddy was on the verge of losing it when his eyes caught me in the doorway. His lip was quivery and I knew he was fighting the tears behind his sunglasses. After five quiet minutes in the car, he burst into tears.

But it had nothing to do with the boo-boo.

"I'm just [sniff] so sad [sniff, snort] to leave my teachers!" [sniff, snort, SOB] "I'm just going to miss them sooooooooooooo MUCH!"

Now, as a mommy, I was broken. My baby. My so sad baby.

But, as a former teacher, I was just a little bit (a lot) elated.

He LOVES his teachers! HE LOVES SCHOOL!

Tears and sadness over the end of the school year are GOOD THINGS! (Sad, but sweet and good.)

I was driving, so I couldn't just scoop him up and hug him, but I tried to assure him of the goodness:
"I'm so sorry that you're sad, honey, but you're sad for a good reason: Feeling like you're going to miss someone when you won't see them means that that person is very special to you. You love Mrs. D and Mrs. G, and that's a really good feeling."

It didn't really help, but I kept going.

"When I miss someone, I feel sad at first, but then I can just remember all of the fun things we did together, and that makes he happier."

Still sobbing.

"When I was a teacher, I used to feel very sad at the end of the school year. I knew that I would miss all of my kindergarten students very much. But then I'd think about how much fun they were going to have in FIRST grade!"

Getting quieter....

"After the summer, you're going to 4-year old preschool...with games, activities, and projects that are made just for 4-year old kids. Your teachers are going to have new 3-year old kids in their class next year. But you're ready for the next class! Your brain is too big for 3-year old preschool!"

Silence.

"Baby? Are you okay?"

"Are we going to the beach?"

"We'll go later in the summer, hon, not right now."

[SNIFF, SOB, WAIL]
"I'm going to miss my teachers when I'm at the beach!"

Oh, boy.

The crying lasted about an hour after we got home. I think it was a combination of the boo boo and the realization that the school year was rapidly coming to a close. He wasn't hysterical, just quiet crying on the couch and then through lunch. We were able to keep distracted through the afternoon and evening, but I was seriously dreading the approaching Last Day of School.

Which was today.

We had a great morning....really laid back and relaxed with two cheerful little helpers working together to get out the door on time. He had presents to bring to his teachers, which helped his mood, I think, and also the promise of a cookies-and-lemonade End of the Year Party after school, which definitely helped. But, just to sweeten the deal even further....we talked a LOT about our super special Last Day of School Dinner at Red Robin.

There were some whimpers and quivery lips on the way to school, and some watery eyes while he hugged his teachers goodbye for the last time this afternoon, but all in all, it was a good day. A Happy Day.

And then he came home and was a complete pest all afternoon to poor little Maxwell. And he didn't say two words to us during dinner because he stared, open-mouthed at the never-before-seen Cartoon Network that was airing on every television in the restaurant. And then he popped one of the two balloons they got and refused to share the other one with Max.

But, whatever.

He had a great last day of school, is excited to start his new school in the fall, and we have both learned that we can survive a few hours spent apart from one another. And even, that it's good for us.

Lesson Learned:
As much as I loved and learned from this first preschool experience that Evan (and I) had....I am so excited for summer vacation. As good as it is to have time apart to grow, I'm craving more time together, without a schedule, to just play and have fun. We have a list (ha! big surprise, right?!) of must-do things for the summer and another list of if-we-get-around-to-it things, and I can't wait to start checking things off....with Both of my boys.

First Day of School

Last Day of School

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