My three year old started preschool this week.
All summer long we coached him and worked him up to this grand event. Every good thing he did we praised and reminded him how proud his teachers will be when he does said thing in class (listening, picking up toys, being polite, etc.).
Turns out preparing him wasn't the same as preparing myself.
The morning was here. I nervously and excitedly made breakfast. I tried to pass it off (more to myself than anyone) that it was just a normal day. I did all I could to calmly pass the time until drop off.
Finally the time came and I loaded my precious bundle of big boy into the car and drove to school.
Then I pulled in. And. I. Sobbed.
My son had no idea that emotion was washing over me like a tsunami. I didn't see it coming. I thought I had talked myself into being the cool mom. I truly believed I could get through this like it was just another Tuesday.
Turns out I'm really good at lying to myself.
I had to pull it together. I plastered on a toothy grin and swiped away the sob that had taken my breath away.
I had to "fake it till you make it" and I suspect the room full of moms I sat amongst were doing the same. We all sat with our bouncing toddlers as the pastor prayed for our children as periodic sniffles swept over the room. This was it. Our kids were in school. No more beach days. No more popsicles for lunch. No more laying in bed until nine.
On day two my son was reluctant to enter the room. After day one he told me he would only go "one more time". Well...even one more time seemed like too many, I guess. The teacher had to scoop him up and coax him with her suave toddler-ruling ways that today was going to be a good day.
When it came time to pick him up from day two I had knots in my stomach. I was terrified the teachers were going to tell me he was naughty all day. I worried like crazy thinking she would tell me things like: He didn't listen. He needed time out. Your kid is the bad kid. Your kid is the one who gets in trouble. **
"Every class has one" I told myself. "It's okay. He's sweet and kind at home and he is loving. You know he is capable of great things."
And when I picked him up, he was smiling. He ran excitedly to the door and the teacher looked at me and smiled. "He had a great day!" she exclaimed. And it took all I had not to succumb to tears again. She took my breath away with one simple line.
My stomach had been a bag of butterflies for the whole two and a half hours he was away from me. Hearing he had a great day blindsided me and the whole way to the car I said "I'm SO proud of you. I am SOO PROUD of you!!" again and again while choking back happy tears.
I had always heard it's emotional to send your little ones to school but this is a different level of feelings.
Two days down. Nineteen years of sending him to school to go.
**Realistically I knew no teacher would say these things but I couldn't help myself from thinking them anyway.