Preschool has changed my life in ways I would have never thought.
It all started in a little room of the local YWCA near Millersville, MD. I started my preschool career making longlasting designs, such as this pencil can…
Okay, seriously. This isn’t about my time in preschool (in fact, we called it nursery school back in my day). It’s about the little kid I call “son” or “Evan.” He’s the light of my life and he talks like his mouth was never meant to close.
He’s exhausting, at times. I love his curiosity about the world around him. He’s always asking me how boats work or why people have to brush their teeth. He asks about babies and puppies and okapis. We talk about recycling and railroads and religion.
Oh yes. He has recently started asking questions about angels. And then he hit me with this one the other day, “Mommy, are God and Jesus the same person?” Out of the blue. Well, sort of.
Then he says, “Mommy, I think God made a good choice when he made grass green.”
He makes my heart sing and when my heart isn’t singing, he makes me insane.
When I took him to a psychologist for an evaluation a few years ago, they told me that he should go to school when he was three. He would need the intellectual stimulation and it would be good for his social skills.
I didn’t enroll him for a variety of reasons. I wasn’t sure if we were coming or going (kind of like now). I didn’t think he could handle the stress of a new situation. And… I wasn’t really ready to let my baby go. I didn’t want to put him in a strange situation and away from the sitter and kids he had known since he was 4 months old.
I’ve since changed my mind but it took me a long time to accept it.
It was just over two weeks ago when I made the preschool decision:
It was about the 400th time he asked me to go to the bathroom with him because he was scared of monsters. In our house. I know that’s totally normal for a 4 year old but I just want to say, “Really? If there were monsters in this house, why would they hang out in the bathroom? They would be totally raiding the pantry or hiding under your bed.”
Instead, I decided that I couldn’t procrastinate anymore. He needed the social interaction and the confidence that comes from preschool. So I did what any responsible parent would do to find a top quality preschool at the last minute.
I went to Google.
I found a preschool that came up under Sponsored Ads. It was a nearby church, which is the norm for the South. I clicked. It looked nice. It was close. It was reasonably priced. And it had fantastic parent testimonials on the site. I called and they had openings.
In the next hour, I was in the car on the way to visit the school with Evan in tow. I walked in and it immediately felt right. I met the preschool director and she was lovely. I toured the classrooms and I could envision Evan there. And he wasn’t screaming or in tears.
I enrolled him the next day and went to the parent orientation that night. The day after, I took Evan to the kids orientation. He met the other kids, was totally overwhelmed, and I was ready to walk out crying telling him he never ever ever had to go back.
But then I thought of the pencil cans I wanted him to make me. We could do this.
He met the teachers and instantly liked them. He even gave them hugs goodbye. We toured the playground and he loosened up a bit. I was still nervous about the first day.
We started the next week and I was terrified of what would happen when I dropped him off. And yet, the drop off went okay. A little apprehension but a quick kiss and hug and he walked into the classroom. I waited at the end of the hallway in case he freaked out and needed me. Nonesuch.
So I started my morning waiting for pick-up time to come a mere two hours later (shortened days for the first week). I pulled into the carpool line. YES, THE CARPOOL LINE. I had some weird out-of-body experience realizing that I AM A MOM DOING WHAT MOMS DO. I’m probably the only mom to get like that but it was a defining moment for me.
I pulled around in the line waiting to see my baby. My little baby boy. And he saw me and his face lit up and he gave me the cutest wave. They walked him to my car and as he got in, I anxiously asked “So how was school?”
Wait for it…
“Oh, it was great. I loved it. I can’t wait to go back.”
Yes, I know. It’s a classic story of the mom who doesn’t want to let go because she thinks her kid isn’t ready and it turns out he’s been ready. I get it. But let’s turn the focus back to me. How has it changed my life?
Now I feel super happy about dropping him off, knowing that no matter how much he protests, he will invariably tell me he loved school and had a great day. So what am I doing with my time?
I head to the new and modern library practically right across the street. I walk in and set up shop and for 3 hours, 3 uninterrupted hours, and write like a fiend. My officemates are quiet. I don’t have to make small talk and there aren’t many distractions. Except for these things called books.
I love my new office almost as much as Evan loves school. I hope my blog loves it too.