The first day of preschool. I have done this eight times before. But of course this time, my ninth time taking one of my 4 year olds to a first day of preschool, had a special spot in my heart. She is the youngest. I doubt I'll do this ever again. She could very well be my LAST preschooler! I didn't want this year to come so quickly!
She was so excited for this day! It was all she could talk about during the summer, how she would be starting "school" soon. She wanted to know how many kids would be in her class, what her teachers would be like, and what kind of things they would do in the classroom. Would they sing songs? yes. Would they paint? yes. Would she make friends? Absolutely!
Big sister Aislynn walked Aria to her classroom while I lagged behind with the camera
I love preschool. I love sending my kids to preschool. I always start my kids in preschool the year before they go into Kindergarten, and that could be at age 4 or age 5, depending on the child. But we only do one year of preschool, because well...I really, really like my little ones home with me! I'm selfish that way. So only two or three mornings a week of preschool the year before they start Kindergarten.
one last smile for mom before heading into the classroom
I don't think preschool is necessary for academic success. I don't send mine for that reason. I send mine so that they can have FUN and make friends, and hey if they learn their ABC's and 123's while they are there, that's a perk! I just want them to have fun and have a classroom experience. If they are not having FUN, then there's no point in going. I sent Andrew at the age of four, and he cried and cried for three weeks. He hated it. So I withdrew him from the program. The faculty kept assuring me that eventually he would get used to it, that they ALL do eventually. And I said to them, "And how sad is that?" I'm a stay-at-home mom. My kids do not have to go to preschool for childcare reasons, so I see no reason in forcing them to go. Andrew was not emotionally ready for preschool at the age of four. So we waited a year and put him in at five, and he did great! He loved it a year later. He just needed one more year at home with mommy and siblings. And there's nothing wrong with that.
Aria, on the other hand, is more than ready for this short 3-hour separation from family two times a week. She didn't even look back at me when I dropped her off. She just went straight into that classroom, hung up her book bag, and sat down on the classroom rug. Didn't even look up to see if I was still there.
I think part of me wanted her to look up and search me out, a part of me wanted to feel needed, if only for a brief reassuring smile before the classroom door closed. But she didn't need that. She was confident and just fine on her own. And of course that's a good thing.
I'm happy to say that I did not walk away bawling my eyes out, as I saw one mom doing. No, I didn't do that. But I won't say that I didn't get a lump in my throat as I walked back to my car. And I won't say that I enjoyed the silent car ride back home and that I didn't keep glancing at the empty car seat in the back, or that my house didn't feel incredibly empty for those three hours that she wasn't there, or that I didn't watch the clock constantly and practically speed to the school at pick-up time....or that I wasn't more excited to see her face than she was to see mine.
Because yeah, it was like that. And I'm quite sure it will be a repeat of these emotions when she starts Kindergarten next year. Does everyone feel like this with their last child? Is everything that she does from now on going to evoke these feelings in me?