Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Cutting the Strings

Today, Emma started preschool. For a couple of weeks she had told everyone she encountered that she was going soon. Her enthusiasm for school put her older siblings to shame.

Last week, was Meet the Teacher Day. As we pulled up to the school, she practically squealed with excitement, something that Ryan couldn't relate to. (Ryan started his Pre-K year a couple of weeks ago with the school district early childhood center.) Emma marched right into the school and her classroom. She eagerly sat at the table with her folder.

Because, hello! Who doesn't like candy?

Emma's class is The Stable Room. Amazingly enough, she wasn't tested before her class assignment to insure the proper room placement. Talk about serendipity.

Emma and Ryan explored her new room. Ryan was very hesitant at first and Emma led the way.

Her favorite area was the Home Living Center. Notice the folder in her hand. She wasn't about to let that go!

Fast forward to today.

Not so happy.

I think Emma figured she did her 20 minute stint of preschool, it was fun while it lasted, and it was a done deal.

Uh, no.

The only thing she got excited about was her lunch box. Actually excited might be the wrong word. Let's try POSSESSIVE. All of my children have their first day of school pictures with their backpacks. Emma's is lying on the ground. She's got her lunch box looped over her shoulder.

Toudee and Foofa came along to make sure she got to school without incident. She still has her lunch box.

On her way to class. The fact she is walking on her own two feet was progress.

Toudee and Foofa had to rest in Emma's backpack while she went to class. Convincing her of this was fairly easy. Giving up the lunch box? Not so much.

Then it was time for me to go and my baby cried as though I was never coming back. After six kids, I'm supposed to be immune to such displays of hysterics.

Someone forgot to tell my tear ducts.

I walked away in tears, wishing I'd had time to give her another kiss. That I had reminded her to tell her teacher if she had to potty. But I didn't. There wasn't time.

It occurred to me that this is really life in a nutshell. I sent Trace to college and drove away wishing I had warned him to not wash his darks with his whites. To eat less Ramen and more veggies. Then Trace moved out into a condo with Cody last April, and I wanted to tell him to change his furnace filter every three months and try not to park on the street.

The truth is when you are in the moment of separating from your child there isn't enough time to tell them everything you think they need to know. Honestly, they're not listening anyway. As a parent, we're still clinging to them and they are ready to be set free. As it should be. Sure they might cry, or scream as in Emma's case. But they need to be set free.

It hurts like hell, but that's our job. It's not to cram the information we think they need to know at the last minute. It's to teach them along the way.

When I picked Emma up from preschool, she was exactly how I expected her to be. Happy.

But her teacher told me when she asked the class who wanted to come back on Thursday, Emma was the only one who said she didn't want to go.

Guess I still have some time to teach her about those air filters.


Jules said...

Wait-I'm supposed to be changing the filters on my furnace?

She'll warm up to preschool. Josie's been in the same daycare/preschool since she was a year old and she still sometimes cries when i drop her off.

Seriously-every 3 months? I've lived in this place for 2 1/2 years! Why doesn't someone TELL me these things!

Denise Grover Swank said...

ROLF!!! Julie, clean your furnace filter!

Jeez, now I'm gonna have to drop *you* off at school and cry. ;-)

Megryansmom said...

I heard once a month. Geez, all this time I've been wasting all that money on furnace filters

Kristin said...

Oh my goodness, I can't believe how much she has grown since I first started reading your blog! She is too precious!!!

Brandy said...

Sigh. Why do they grow up so fast? I asked my soon-to-be 7 year old nephew why he couldn't just stay little cause he makes me feel old. He said "well you make me feel 71." Nice. Real nice kid.

Before you can blink she will be graduating so enjoy it while it lasts. Besides I think a girl that holds onto her lunch box has her priorities straight in life so you ain't got nothing to worry about.

Eisley Jacobs said...

Awww hopefully Thursday will go great!!!

Note to self, change the filter

Teresa =) said...

Denise -

When you blogged about Jenna the other day, I feared you were just teasing us. But -- could it be -- you're back?!?! Meggie and I have missed you terribly and thought of you often!

I can't believe Emma is in school! Are you kidding me?! Amazing...

So glad you're back in the blogosphere...and I love your new blog look!

Teresa =)

Denise Grover Swank said...

Teresa, I'm trying!!! I had thought about writing posts before but it didn't seem right to post and then not post something for a long time. I gave this a lot of thought before I decided to jump back in.

Besides, if you all keep telling me how much you love having me back, how can I NOT keep blogging? I'm feeling REALLY loved!

Anonymous said...

not a good one for me to read, seeing as how I am still trying to get used to my first one being at college. She called me yesterday and she is sick. Nothing I can do. It's hard!

Wendy W

Lu said...

Where do we put the NEW furnace filter?? lol! I mentioned that to Trace the other day that we needed to change them since it had been almost 4 months now, and he looked at me like I was crazy.

Kristin said...

I remember when Katie started preschool. I would leave her standing alone (no tears though) in the middle of the room. But she adjusted and now won't be quiet. Keep taking that baby back no matter what she says!!

I, too, can't believe Emma is already old enough to be in school. Wow.

Christina said...

Emma will start to enjoy preschool I'm sure. The tears come with motherhood, not much advise for you other than bring tissues.

Your just full of great advice. Any chance I can put you in charge of reminding me to change the furnace filter? While your at it you better remind me to change the box of baking soda in the fridge too.

Beth said...

This past weekend we visited dd #1 in NYC... she is 25... I melted saying g'bye to her... it was so damn hard... what is it with these kids! It's Thursday today did Emma go back?