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“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” – Sydney J. Harris
For Back to School Week, I called dibs on milestone years, because my oldest child is moving on from the primary school to the intermediate school, and my youngest is starting kindergarten. This post was going to be an unabashed celebration of milestones, my pronouncement to the world that I don’t get angsty about my children getting older. That I never wished they would stay at a certain stage or age. I wanted to let everyone know that in my house, milestones are happy events, markings of time well spent, check marks on the Big To-Do List of Life. Yes, milestones mean my children are growing up before my very eyes, but I am totally cool with that!
I dropped my kids off at The Children’s Clubhouse the other morning, the place that both of them spent nearly every day of their infancy, toddler years, and preschool time. I watched them as they both ran into the yard to play with their friends, as I entered the building alone to stash their lunchboxes and backpacks upstairs in the “School Agers” room. Before I went up the stairs, I looked to my right, toward the two rooms where they spent their earliest days, and I thought of how much nurturing and love they both received from their caregivers. I looked to the left, where they spent the first couple of their years, stretching their wings and learning, in the most creative yet structured and always caring environment.
As I walked up the stairs, my feet suddenly became very heavy with the realization that not only were we facing the milestones of starting something new, we are approaching the end of something that has been so much a part of our lives. For the first time, both of my children are going to be outside of this safety net that I relied on for the past nine years. For the first time, I’m not going to be able to text or call just to check in on them if they had a bad morning, or stop by for a hug on my way to the office, or actually know exactly how their days are structured, or see their friends and friends’ parents every day. This morning was going to be one of the very last of these kinds of mornings that we would get to experience on a regular basis.
And honestly, there weren’t many times that I called or texted or stopped by; but I did develop personal relationships with so many of the people who both work there and had chosen this place for their children to attend. This place, no matter how awful or stressful our mornings were, as soon as we entered the gates, we all always felt calmer. The gardens the children grow, the crafts that decorate the inside and outside of the building, the music constantly playing, the emphasis on everything I think childhood should be about, the smiles and hellos of the other children, their parents and the employees…it is a magical place, so full of love and learning.
Because I work full time, I will be watching my children get on a bus, and I will have no knowledge about their days until I see them when I get home from work. That is, if they choose to tell me about their days. Yes, there will be emails from their teachers, but I won’t be able to see and speak with those teachers every day. We will meet a maximum of three, maybe four times during the entire school year.
So if tears fall from my eyes on the first day of school, it’s because of one or more of the following reasons:
- There is something like an errant branch or pollen or leaf that flew into my eye.
- My babies are growing up before my eyes and I’m totally not cool with that.
- I will no longer be involved in or aware of the day-to-day moments of either of my children.
- I won’t get to see or interact on a daily basis with The Clubhouse. Which means my babies are growing up before my eyes and I’m totally not cool with that.
While I am truly excited for both of my children to be heading off to new school experiences, this is truly a bittersweet time for me. So as we approach these three milestones, I want to take a moment to say to our Clubhouse Family: THANK YOU for giving my children the best start to the rest of their lives, for being true friends, my support system, the people I know I can rely on to turn a crappy morning into a great day and for being my lifeline into my kids’ lives while I’m at work. And, not least importantly, thank you for all you have taught all of us. We will miss you being a part of our every day and will cherish all the memories we’ve created there.
Image Courtesy of Google Images