Sunday, July 31, 2016

Letter to Kaiden Before His First Day of School

Dear Kaiden,

Tomorrow is your first day of preschool, and I am filled with excitement and dread and wonder all mixed together in one big ball that is sitting at the bottom of my stomach.

 See, Daddy and I knew from a long time ago that you were too smart for your own good. We also knew, especially given my background as a teacher, that you weren't going to thrive in a traditional classroom environment. That is simply not how you learn. You have grown so much in daycare, but to continue in daycare would be a disservice to you at this point. There's so much more out there for you to soak up, and we want to expose you to as much of it as we possibly can. That is why we decided to send you to a Montessori school, where you can flourish at your own pace, learn what you want to learn, and not be bound to a desk all day long.

This is a big change from a home daycare, though. For the past three years, you have been loved by women who stepped up in my place to keep you safe and grow you while I worked. Two of those years have been with Miss Ashley, who took you under her wing as if you were her own son. She has kissed your bumps and bruises, wiped away your tears, laughed and cried along with you -- she has done exactly what I would have done if I could have spent my whole days with you. Even when I stopped worked as a classroom teacher, she still continued to watch over you three days a week so you could play with your friends and learn from her.

Needless to say, I am nervous about letting you go tomorrow. I know you will probably handle it like a champ, and you won't look back once you see all those new friends to play with -- but it is still scary. It is scary to think that I am taking you away from where you were comfortable, from Miss Ashley and your friends, from the routine you knew, the bedroom your napped in, the table you sat at to eat your snacks and lunches, and I am putting you somewhere completely different, with different rules, different routines and different people.

Oh, but Kaiden, I know you will love it. Miss Edvina was already impressed with you when we took you for your trial morning. She couldn't believe that months ago, you already knew your letters, numbers, colors and shapes. She didn't believe me when I told her that you've known all those for over a year at that point, and then she assured me that you would do very well as a Montessori student. She also assured me that your fiery, curious and outspoken nature wouldn't be an issue. Daddy thinks that the school is in for a big surprise when you get there, but I think you are going to do well with your new boundaries and rules.

What is hardest about all of this is that it means you are growing up, and that your growing up is truly out of my hands. I packed your lunchbox, wrote your name on the inside of your backpack, got all of your things ready for tomorrow, and stood there in the kitchen and told Daddy, "I am one of those moms now, aren't I? I have to make him lunch now, and check his backpack."

I am happy to be one of "those moms" now. I was always happy to take on being your Mama. I will always be happy with being your Mama...

...but it is still bittersweet that you are growing up in front of my eyes, and there's nothing I can do to slow it down.

I love you so much, and you will have a perfect, wonderful day tomorrow. I just know it. <3