Friday, July 11, 2014

Jack's Last Day of Preschool

I didn't expect it to feel like a punch to the gut. For months, I knew the day was coming. How is it then that it snuck up on me?

Winter lingered long this year. Maybe the May snow tricked me into thinking I had more time. But sure enough, the last day of preschool arrived like a thief in the night.

Last day of preschool

First day of preschool

Do you know those first day of kindergarten posts that always pop up on Facebook and Instagram? The ones of tentative children and weepy mothers? I've always thought those were slightly dramatic. I mean, the kids are going to school not to war. Oh, silly me, I was wrong.

That morning as Jack dressed and headed out the door, I couldn't even get him to stand still for a momentous photo - the last day of preschool. The end of an era. Didn't he grasp the importance? No, he just knew snack would probably be something sugary since it was the last day. He just wanted to get there and be done.

I snapped a few forced shots before loading us into the car. My throat caught and I couldn't breath right. What in the heck was happening to me? Surely, I could make the drop without a meltdown.

Jack bounced out of the car and into his classroom. He was excited and full of energy. I held back tears and refused to make eye contact with the other mothers. After walking out of the little red schoolhouse with Grace on my hip, I sat in my car and weeped. Weeped as if my baby boy had gone to war.

Baby Jack is gone. He is bike riding, Lego building, fence climbing, doing it on his own Jack now.

I miss baby Jack, but I love five-year-old Jack. He is funny and interesting. He is my heart, always has been, this first born child who challenged me. Who still challenges me.

I counted down the years that day in the car while wiping snot with the back of my hand, because surely I wouldn't need a tissue on the last day of preschool. 13. Only 13 more years until high school graduation. That is shorter than the time I have been out of college and wasn't that just yesterday?!

So long baby Jack. And don't mind the crazy lady sneaking into your room after you fall asleep. I may crawl in beside you and smell your hair and watch you sleep. Like I used to when you would fall asleep in my arms nursing. And don't mind me next month when I wield my tissues and weep as I drop you off for kindergarten. 

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