It’s moments like these for which the word “bittersweet” was invented. Bug and Bear are both now students of preschool; Bug attends Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday while Bear attends Tuesday and Thursday.
Let’s start with the sweet, shall we? I now have nine hours a week during which I am given two very precious commodities – time and personal space. Two commodities which have until this point been severely lacking in my life. So far I’ve used the time to work out, schedule doctor’s appointments, clean, cook, and run errands. These are all things I’ve previously done with my two tornadoes in tow, but it’s quite an incredible privilege to do these things at my own pace. I’m blessed that I can take care of my “to-do’s” while the boys are in school and focus my energy on them while they’re home. Having both boys in school has resulted in less TV while they’re home [I no longer need them to stay out of trouble for 25 minutes while I scrub toilets and mop floors], and I’m finding so much more patience and gentleness when we’re all together.
Plus, there have been unexpected moments of bliss. Going to the bathroom without an audience, grabbing just my phone and keys for errands, being mentally present during my quiet time, and not having to worry about little hands making a mess when I’m cooking to name just a few.
Without family nearby to give us the occasional break, the back up plan for personal doctor’s appointments, or the built-in babysitter for errands, preschool has been a lifesaver!
[Bear’s faces as he processed the information that this was his first day of school.]
[I know this is a lot of photos of Bear and his backpack, but seriously. He was ridiculously adorable rolling that thing to his classroom.]
And of course, there’s the bitter. I’m not normally sappy about my kids growing up, so the sadness in my heart as their first day approached snuck up on me. In our last days of summer, I couldn’t keep out the memories of my growing up boys as babies. I was overwhelmed with remembering their particular baby scent, the first time their hand wrapped around my finger, and those times I rocked and sang to them in the middle of the night – just the two of us, in our own little world.
As we dropped them off, I only teared up momentarily when I realized neither boy so much as glanced back at us. They both happily bounded into their classroom, full of anticipation of the day ahead.
What’s wrong with me? What was I thinking – raising well-adjusted and independent kids? Why didn’t I realize that I secretly wanted them to melt down at the very thought of being without their Mommy – their world- for an entire day? Shouldn’t they be feeling even a glimpse of the sadness that was overwhelming my heart?
Something tells me I’ll be thinking those exact words as we drive away from each child’s dorm their freshman year of college. That is…if we do our job right.
I held myself together though, put on my sunglasses and took a deep breath. I was patting myself on the back about not being one of those – boo-hoo-ing, can’t get a grip on reality that kids tend to grow up -Moms. Then I got in my car and took out the Schoolhouse Rock CD to which we’d been listening.
My car was suddenly void of the conjunction, junction, what’s your function [hookin’ up words and phrases and clauses…in case you were wondering], and there was…silence.
No voices asking for water, asking where we were going, or pointing out the dump truck nearby. No sound of books being traded between brothers, pretzels being chomped, or shoes being un-velcroed. Just silence.
Y’all. I lost it.
I missed them. Except for the occasional girls’ night or “I’m going out of my mind and need an hour at Starbucks” trek, I’m never without at least one little set of hands holding onto mine. For over four years, I’ve had these pieces of my heart I call my sons literally attached to me.
It wasn’t easy to walk into an empty home. I left my hearts at that school, and I was trusting teachers I barely knew to care for those hearts. I’m trusting that their spirits aren’t crushed, and I’m trusting that other kids don’t say hurtful or thoughtless things to my gentle hearted boys.
While I’m enjoying the luxury of having time to shave my armpits in the shower, I’m praying that my sons are being disciplined gently, are developing an enthusiasm for learning, are being spoken to with patience, and are seen as the incredible children of God that they are.
You might be glad to know that both boys are having a fantastic experience at school. Even though they didn’t crumble in tears at the thought of me leaving them at school, they did run into my arms with an excited, “Mommy!!” when I picked them up.
Bittersweet, indeed. But really – mostly sweet.