Tuesday, September 04, 2012

back to school - kindergarten edition

I have been so emotional over the past week.
And even though I am an emotional person (WHAM! SHOCKER!), I was actually surprised by this.
Way back five years ago, when I first sent Jane to daycare (and struggled mightily), I thought that sending her off to kindergarten would be a snap. That I would be used to sending her somewhere for the day, and she would be used to school, other kids, teachers and the classroom setting. No big deal.
That was before I realized what an integral part of our lives her daycare would become. She made some great friends, I made some great friends (hello Friday night moms’ happy hour!), she formed super-tight bonds with some amazing teachers, and along the way learned her letters, her numbers, discovered her love of drawing, learned countless songs, learned how to fight and negotiate with other kids (important for an only child!), and evolved into a magically sassy and delicious five-year-old.
On her last day of preschool, I felt very disoriented. It sounds so clich√©, but seriously – where did the time go, you guys? No, really? How did five years pass so quickly? I know every parent on earth says the same thing, but it’s true. I have no idea how we got to the moment we were at this morning, waiting for the big yellow bus to show up at the corner of our street.
My fears for her are countless. Will she make friends? Will kids pick on her, or bully her? Will she cry? Will she know where to go and what to do? Will she love her teacher? Will she learn easily, or will she struggle? Will she… Will she… Will she….?
I had a vision of how this morning was going to go. Jane has always had difficulty with transitions, and every year at daycare, when she moved into the next room, she cried and cried. Drop-offs were a nightmare. She doesn’t like unfamiliar situations – and that was at the SAME SCHOOL, with the SAME KIDS, in the SAME BUILDING. This morning required her to go, alone, onto a big bus, off to a place that, sure, she has visited, but didn’t really know.
She told me many times over the past few days how nervous she was, especially about getting on the bus. She would get teary talking about it. She would mention how none of the kids in her class will know her name. How she doesn’t WANT to go to kindergarten. I had an image of her crying, face pressed up against the window on the bus as it pulled away. I was certain this was how it was going to go.
Because she is in afternoon kindergarten, her bus wasn’t set to come until 11:23. This morning felt endless. She, Greg and I got to the bus stop about 15 minutes early, and then the bus was about 10 minutes late, so we were standing there for a long time. Jane, at this point, was PSYCHED. I, at this point, had an incredibly upset stomach, a giant lump in my throat, and extreme anxiety that once we saw that bus, she would dissolve into tears.
But when it came down the street, she was ready. She got on that bus like a CHAMP. Waved goodbye; no tears. None for her, anyway. I held mine back until she left.
She had an awesome day. To my great relief, she knows someone in her class - there is a set of twins from her daycare that is going to her school, and one of them is in her class, and she mentioned another friend that she made. The best part of her day, of course, was snack.  

I am so, so, so very proud of my girl.


Kim said...

Big cheers for both of you. I got throat-lumpy too just reading about it. This post helps me believe that magical sass and deliciousness will always win out.

Lora said...

Kindergarten adjustments were the hardest thing I've ever done as a parent. So far. I'm sure there are bigger things coming. I feel for you, and remember how tough it was for me. And for Jake, but mostly for me. It gets better, usually right around the holidays!