Last week we experienced a number of firsts at our house. My 18 month old uttered her first full sentence: “No Mommy,” proving that she’s going to give us a run for our money. I broke down and bought our first family calendar to mount in our kitchen, admitting that I can’t in fact keep it all in my head. And Clara, our spunky 3 year old, started preschool.
My plan was to take Clara on her first day, and then head to a nearby coffee shop to get some work done, before picking her up for that abbreviated first day. Clara had been in daycare from an early age so this wasn’t her first experience at school. Nor was it my first time dropping her off with teachers I didn’t know, in a classroom that seemed so foreign. But this was a different school and it all seemed more grown up. Clara seemed to know that too. She had her new glitter shoes, her backpack, and her lunch box (mind you school only lasted until 10:30 this first day, but the empty lunchbox was going with us no matter what!)
As a walked into the school I noticed a tent outside with moms socializing underneath, coffee cups in hand and toddlers and babies hanging in strollers nearby. I later learned it was the Parent Committee, hosting a first day drop in coffee hour for new or weepy moms and dads.
Clara practically skipped ahead of me into her classroom. There was nothing not to love. First things first they greeted Clara with a hug and then walked her over to the miniature sink to wash her hands, so the day could begin. The room was set up like a cozy home, with cushions and book corners and a nature themed at every bend. Clara found her nametag and headed over to art corner where she got busy exploring. I looked at the teacher, who looked back at me and said “She seems quite comfortable”…. And I couldn’t disagree. After I watched her for a few minutes, I walked back to sneak a hug and kiss, and then onwards towards the door. Clara didn’t skip a beat. She didn’t even turn her head but kept exploring her new environment.
As I headed out I found myself choking up. Her teacher waved and said softly, “There’s a bench down the hall if you need it.” I kept going, through the hallway and past the school administrators who were taking all the necessary paperwork and permissions and out the doors into the courtyard. At this point, the tears were visibly rolling down my cheeks. I couldn’t hold it in.
I wondered why I was so sad about Clara. Its not that I wanted her to be running after me through the hallway; I was so proud she just dove right in. Still, I couldn’t help but feel like this was the beginning of the end. First preschool, then college. As I was fast forwarding through the next 15 years and all the other teary moments I would have, a mom touched my arm and introduced herself. And a moment later, I was following her over to the tent to make a few mom friends and dry up my own tears.
Have any of you had eventful first days of school with your kiddos that you want to share?
Meghan is the Communication and Licensing Director at Step2. Meghan is a mom to three little girls, all under the age of 5, who are best friends and worst enemies at the same time. Meghan, married to her husband of 8 years, loves to travel, try new foods, and has recently become a big fan of Downtown Abby. It’s a real treat when she and husband get a babysitter and over-order at their favorite sushi restaurant.