This week we sent our little man off to school for the first time. George started preschool, and it was an emotional event for us all.
You see, George has never been in a school setting. He has been at home with my mom for the last two years and in an in-home care setting his first three years.
While we love him being at home, we knew that he needed to have some practice with the structure before he goes to Kindergarten. (In Missouri, the cutoff for Kindergarten is to be five by August 1st. Since he is late August, he will be 6 when he starts Kindergarten. I could write a whole other post why this is completely fine by us that he will have another year to mature before going to a full day of school.)
My anxiety has been rearing it’s ugly head all week in the anticipation of letting him go.
- What if he hates school?
- What if he doesn’t make friends?
- Will he remember to use his manners?
- Will he eat food with strangers?
- Will he remember to tell the teacher if he needs to go the bathroom?
- Or will he forget he is in public and try to pee outside on the playground?
- What if he stands in line like he does at gymnastics?
- What if, what if, what if?
I felt like I was losing control in so many ways.
We read a lot of books about school. We talked about all the fun things he would do. We pumped up all the benefits and rewards of school.
However, I wasn’t the only one with anxiety. George also didn’t feel ready.
Every time we brought up school, he would start crying and say he didn’t want to leave the house. We would drive by the school, and he would tell me he wasn’t going to go.
Then we went to meet the teacher. Oh boy. I literally had to drag George into the school and then through the halls to the class. He dug in his heels the whole way.
He started breaking down, but eventually we got him into the room with the toy stations. Then I had an emotional breakdown as I was explaining how he has been at home…in front of his teacher.
We are two peas in a pod for sure.
His teacher is a gem, and we couldn’t be luckier to have her help us transition into this.
I just am really struggling with this age and transition. He isn’t my baby anymore. And it doesn’t make it easier that he is also having a lot of anxiety about it. I guess we are playing off of each other of not wanting to let go.
But here comes the first day of school.
He skipped proudly to the car with his new backpack.
He found his cubby and chair with ease.
He didn’t have any tears until right before Tom and I left.
However there was a moment as we were standing in line waiting for the bell to signal us into the room that will stick with me for the rest of my life.
A little girl came with big alligator tears, bubbling to her mom, “I wanna go home. I don’t wanna be here.” This was the scene I thought we were going to have so I had all the sympathy for this mom.
Then my sweet little five year old, in this very crowded hallway, walked towards this new classmate that he has never met . He says confidently to her, “It’s ok. I was a little shy too. We are gonna be ok.”
My heart exploded, and it was all I could do to not start sobbing myself.
My five year old is ready.
Yes, it is going to be scary.
Yes, there is a lot of unknown.
Yes, it is like my heart is breaking every time we drop him off.
Yes, I have lost some control.
But he is becoming his own little person, and a good little person at that.
It was a nudge that I needed to look at my what ifs in a different way.
- What if he makes a forever friend?
- What if he never wants to leave school because he is having so much fun?
- What if he learns to try new foods because he sees his friends eating?
- What if he starts washing his hands regularly instead of just making bubbles in the sink?
- What if he is the one in class to set an example on kindness?
- What if, what if, what if?
This was a God moment to remind me we are ready, and we are gonna be ok.
How did you feel on your kid’s first day of school? Does it get easier as they get older?