After a slightly rocky and emotional first week, preschool has been going great. My son proudly brings home art work each day, is always excited to tell me about what classroom job he had (line leader, calendar, etc.) and I’m loving the free mornings it has opened up.
Before school officially started, I attended a “welcome parents” meeting where we were given the handbook for preschool, an overview of the school and a run down of the daily routine there.
One specific issue that was brought up was carpool. (Carpool is what they call it when you drive up in front of the school and wait in line with other cars, a teacher comes and let’s your child out of the car and walks him over to the sidewalk in front of the school building so they can walk in by themselves.)
The director mentioned that for the first week or so, they were fine with parents walking in their children but really encouraged us to let kids try the drop-off carpool lane as well. We’d be surprised how much they’d enjoy it, how proud they would be to walk in to the building alone, carrying their own bags and then back down to the car for afternoon pick up.
I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at the time but definitely knew I was walking my son in that first week so I decided not to worry too much about it.
Sure enough, during the second week of school, his teacher asked if I would be willing to let Lou try the carpool lane. I didn’t feel too sure about it but I smiled and said I would try it the next day.
Honestly, what I felt was a couple of things:
1. Oh really, I can’t walk my son in? You are not the boss of me! I’ll do what I want!!! (Apparently, I’m still 15 years old with raging hormones, society to rebel against and a huge chip on my shoulder. Ouch.)
2. Um, I don’t know if you realize this but my son is only three years old. He can’t possibly walk all the way from the sidewalk to the building, down a hallway with other children and in to a classroom by himself. He needs me.
What the hell is wrong with me.
So, the next day, I let my son know we were going to do carpool. He also seemed a little hesitant so I put on a happy face, acted like it was no big deal and just a really fun thing we were going to try and he seemed more at ease.
And, he did great. No problems at all.
Three weeks in and we’ve settled in to a nice routine. We do carpool every day now and he is loving preschool. He only goes three days a week but has already asked if he can go every day.
Believe me, I’m happy about this but I think I was unprepared. As much as I want him to go and have fun and grow and learn, I have to really face that he is growing up – and fast.
He truly is becoming more independent and doesn’t need me all the time. These next few years, he will begin little by little, creating his own life with his own friends and his own goals. This will continue and become stronger for the next 14 years. Really, does it ever stop? His journey is beginning and my role is changing. While I am still needed close by, I also know this is the beginning of where I need to loosen my grip, encourage his exploring and growth and hold dear in my memories the days when he still walks and hold my hand.
When I come home after dropping Lou off at school, my husband is usually making coffee and getting ready to start his work day.
“How’d it go this morning?” He always asks.
This time I gave him an honest answer. “He did great. It’s me who seems to have a problem.”
My husband just smiled.
Growing up is hard. Sometimes, it’s really hard for moms too.