Thursday, May 21, 2009

Later On I Self-Medicated With a Salon Visit and a Giant Frozen Coffee Drink.

Yesterday was a hard day. My oldest completed her two-year stint at the neighborhood co-op nursery school we love so much, and we had to say goodbye to her wonderful teacher--also the school's new(ish) director--who truly made this year extraordinary for Julia and our family. I can hardly believe the end of this era is upon me; sure, I'll have another child at this school, and probably soon, but to see my firstborn finish up her preschool years, to be sending her off to kindergarten in the fall--well, it's a milestone (that cliched word, so insufficient for describing the way I felt yesterday morning). When we walked into preschool in the morning and checked the hallway white board to see which stories and art projects were on tap for the day, and I read the book titles listed there--Will I Have a Friend? and Make New Friends--and imagined Julia's teacher talking to the class about moving on to elementary school, to new places and situations and classmates...well, of course I teared up. Wouldn't you? I mean, honestly: Will I Have a Friend? Don't you want to cry right now, just thinking about it?

Well. Maybe not you.

During Julia's last day of preschool, but before the family ice cream social, I had coffee with some fellow preschool moms and found out that one of them is separating from her husband and moving away this summer with her two young children. I had imagined this family going on through the grade school years with mine, our children in the same kindergarten class in September, so I was very sad to hear the news, and felt terrible that I had not known, that I had inadvertently caused the topic to come up when surely this mom would have preferred to be talking about, say, grocery shopping or the high price of gas. So then I felt all weepy and sad about that. Just in time to go back to the preschool and, you know, cry some more.

Fun times.

So, OK, life goes on and all that. When we said goodbye, my daughter's teacher--a grandmother of four--said, about parenting milestones, that they never stop coming and they never get easier, so the only thing to do is stop and think hard about the wonders of each experience you move on from, to be able to say to yourself, "I got as much out of this as possible; I'm so grateful for each moment I was present in this stage of life and parenting. Now it's on to the next exciting adventure for my child and myself."

And it doesn't get much wiser than that.

So. Onward (to the next exciting adventure).

Julia on her first day (ever) of preschool, age 3, September 2007

Julia on her last day (ever) of preschool, age not-quite-5, May 2009


Mom/Nonna said...

Just look at how that round little baby face from 2007 has matured into the angular face of a little girl, all ready to step into and embrace the new world of kindergarten! This is why you take pictures for every school year! And when Mama (and Nonna) are feeling weepy, just remember: we give our kids two priceless gifts: roots and wings!

Shan said...

The best part about comparing those two photos is that in the first one, her preschool tote bag on her shoulder goes all the way down to her feet! In the second one, it no longer drags on the ground! :)

Laura H said...

I'm confused. Is the director there to guide the kids, or the parents? Either way, aren't we lucky???

Shan said...

I think both, Laura! And yes, we sure are lucky. :)

donna said...

I, too, love how you can see how much she's grown by the Julia-to-bag proportion!

We're going through similar changes around here.

latisha said...

your titles are to die for. loved this too!