I remember the first day I walked into the school, holding his little hand in mine, while I met with the school director to decide if this was where I was going to send him to preschool. I remember dropping him off in the toddler room not sure if I was making the right decision. Not sure if he was old enough for school or if sending him to school was a purely selfish decision, even though it was only 2 half days a week.
I remember the teacher who kindly took him from my arms on the first day and who later assured me that he was fine as soon as I left. I remember another mom in the hallway who couldn’t bring herself to leave because her daughter was crying and I told her “it’s OK she will stop as soon as you leave”.
I remember the start of each school year and how I was always more nervous than he was. I remember lingering for way too long on back to school night because I wanted to talk to let the teacher know that he might cry on the first day and that he was very sensitive. Even thought I now know most of them are that way.
I remember the extra hugs at drop off and how I stood in the classroom for a few extra moments on those first days. I remember the other moms who lingered there too and how we would all walk out thinking the same thoughts, “they will be fine”, “it’s only a few hours”, or “they are having fun”. I remember the drop offs that didn’t go well, the ones where I left and he had tears in his eyes and the moms who understood and had been there before.
And I got to know those other moms. Whether it was play dates or birthday parties just standing in the pick up line year after year. It’s amazing the conversations you can have in the five minutes before the teacher opens the door and a sea of smiling faces rushes towards you.
I’ve stood with these moms at endless birthday parties, I’ve watched their children grow up alongside mine. I’ve held their kids hands up and down the school steps when an extra hand was needed. I’ve texted them when I was running late, and needing someone to let my son know I was on my way. We’ve shouted I’m leaving her in the car for a minute, knowing we would keep an eye out for each other. I’ve texted them about show and tell and if I had the wrong day for the birthday party (I totally did have the wrong day).
We know each others children by name, not just the ones who share a classroom. And as I sat at graduation and thought about how these kids won’t be together next year. It crossed my mind that I won’t have these moms next year. Sure we are still friends, but these won’t be the moms I’m texting when I don’t understand the homework. These won’t be the moms I’m waiting at pick up with.
As much as preschool is an end of an era for my son, it’s also an end of an era for me. These friendships that we both made will change. These friends won’t be apart of our daily lives anymore. The school, the teachers, the familiar faces and knowing smiles will soon be a memory of our preschool days. I’m not ready for this school year or for these days to be over. I’m not ready to let go of these friendships. I knew the end of preschool would be tough for him but I didn’t know how bittersweet it would be for me.