Back to School Business

Yesterday I was shopping solo at Wegman’s. It was glorious to hop out of my car, not worry about unbuckling any children, re-restraining said children in a grocery cart, and taking a deep breath before I tried to complete my shopping in the time it takes for them to finish a baggie filled with Goldfish.

I was casually looking at some bell peppers when the store’s rooster cuckoo clock went off. The kids LOVE this rooster thing. So much so that I began planning our trips around the timing of it. To summarize, at the front of the store this rooster pops out from behind these barn doors on the wall and crows like a rooster at the top of each hour. As I bagged my produce I thought “the kids would have loved to see that…”  then my eyes misted over and I had to look down and think happy thoughts. WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME??  Just last week I penned a post about how incredibly annoying and difficult it is to run errands with children and here I was – gasp – missing them on a solo grocery run? I don’t even know who I am anymore. Lock it up, Lynn!

We’re only a few days in and the kids are absolutely loving their new school. The first day went smoothly enough. Although AJR got a little teary at drop-off which of course completely ruined my first morning “off” because I was so racked with guilt wondering if he was adjusting okay. Very rude of him. Thankfully both kids came out beaming and raving about how much fun they had and I breathed the loudest sigh of relief ever. More importantly, they were excited to go back! Not like they really had a choice in the matter, but it’s nice to know I wasn’t going to have to force them to go against their will (knock on wood).

I don’t know what has me locked in this glass case of emotion. Perhaps like the Grinch, my heart grew three sizes at drop-off day and now every little thing seems to set me off. Like this sweet first day of school poem that his teacher’s gave us:

IS SOMEONE CUTTING AN ONION IN HERE? It feels like someone ripped my heart from my chest and put it back in with a band-aid. It’s so sweet and wonderful yet it completely destroyed me.

I think what’s hardest for me is that this preschool is such a departure from the school we were at last year. At our old school, I walked both children into their classrooms every day. I made small talk with the teachers, looked all of the kids dead in their eyes and with my mind, said I would ruin them if they so much harmed a hair on my children’s heads. The start time was much later so we had a leisurely start to our day and didn’t have an exact drop-off time to adhere to. It was pre-school light in the best possible way and more importantly, I felt like I had a grip on what was going on during their short time there.

Now, I feel like I’m sending my kids off into a black-hole each morning. A loving and highly recommended black-hole, but a black-hole nonetheless. It feels like a small glimpse into the world of kindergarten (coming next year) and I can’t handle the fact that their world is getting so much bigger and I’m going to start having less access to it. The past two days I had to drop AJR off at the school entrance instead of directly into his classroom. I also had to pack him a lunch because they eat lunch in the cafeteria every day. On the first day, I literally showed him how his lunchbox works. I trust the kid to assemble advanced LEGO sets but clearly I’m having paranoia over him undoing a zipper. I plastered his lunchbox with not one, but THREE stickers with his name on it just in case he has issues finding it.

The real deal drop-off went off without a hitch. We met up with some friends and they walked in together as these little big 4-year old boys. AJR almost walked away without giving me a kiss. I say almost because I think I practically screamed “KISS ME, PLEASE!” and wrenched him backwards into my arms. It made me proud to see him go off with confidence on those little shoulders of his but my heart ached because it feels like the beginning of the end of the little boy years.

For the last few years we’ve always been together except for a few hours here or there when he went to school in the morning. At times it has been a burden. At times it’s been my undoing as I mentally feel like I’m falling apart with the weight of 24/7 mothering and nary a moment to catch my breath. But then I realize, that this is sort of it save for holiday and summer breaks. Now he’s in school five days a week for six hours a day. I knew that when we signed him up and I do truly believe with the logical part of my brain that this is something he will thrive and flourish under. But, the crazy emotional part of myself that I didn’t even think would surface, had this gut-check of “wow, this is it.” This is how next year in kindergarten will be, this is how the year after that will be, and the year after that, and the year after that. All of these moments and this time that I admittedly begrudged almost daily depending on the kids’ moods, isn’t fleeting – it’s already fleeted (which isn’t a word but bear with me). He’s on the cusp of the big kid years and that sort of terrifies me for many reasons.

A photo from our last summer hurrah together.

It’s incredibly difficult – this letting go and setting them off into a world that you can’t control for them. I am beyond elated that the kids have adjusted so incredibly well. But the house does feel very quiet, well, except for Ruby (insert barking for five minutes because I slammed a cabinet door too loudly and she thinks someone is in the house). I miss my boy. He’s away for so long. I am enjoying the quiet and the moments to myself but while he is away he’s very much in the front of my mind with everything I do. With both kids, I will always worry, wonder, and hope that they are learning, growing, and feeling happy. I am a big ball of emotions and that was totally unexpected. And if I’m this bad over pre-K, Lord help me next year when I have to send him off to kindergarten. I’ll start stockpiling the tissues now.

And off he goes from my arms to his big boy school. (cue quiet weeping)

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