Dear Preschool Teacher,
As I flipped through my calendar to find where I’d scribbled, “first day of preschool, ” I realized that tucked neatly in an envelope in the front pocket was a lock of hair from his first haircut. Please understand, this is a love like no other.
As we took the obligatory “First Day of School” photo in front of a letter board and a backpack wider than he is, I made sure that he was wearing shorts that could easily slide up and down his bottom to make bathroom breaks away from me a breeze. I checked his socks to make sure they were his favorite. Robots, of course. Mind you, all of these clothes, and even his sibling’s clothes, had been laid out neatly the night before.
Although it was his first day of school, it was also his little sister’s and my first day of a new chapter in our lives.
I was more anxious than excited on that first day, but your gentle touch and warm smile eased my worries. As the tears from separation anxiety and the unknown started to flow from a three year old’s eyes you had just only met, you knew just what to do. You embraced him and said, “It’s OK,” and I left. Walking out the door, I knew this was the start of something great.
You didn’t know this but I cried the whole way home.
You didn’t know this but the hours crept by so slowly that first day.
I missed him so. damn. much.
Each drop off got easier because I soon saw a new skip in his step. I saw independence blossoming. I saw confidence. I saw him having fun in a safe space you had created for him. I saw him being OK without me.
Each pickup got sweeter because of what he chose to share with me. “I had a great day.” “I played.” “I love my teachers.” He even started to use your lingo when he rattled off, “School is awesome-sauce.” I couldn’t help but smile and feel complete relief and joy.
You know the name of his teddy bear that’s tucked under his arm. You know his favorite foods. You help him remember to use the potty before going outside, and if he has an accident you clean him up and make sure he is happy and dry. Mostly, dear Teacher, you help him learn what it’s like to step outside of his tiny comfort zone: me.
Thank you for sharing his days away with me, for sending photos and getting excited that my picky eater actually ate chicken nuggets or a blueberry. All those little things are the big things for me right now. It warms my heart to see him hug you because I know when he does he truly feels loved.
Thank you for being patient with him. Thank you for teaching him things like how to draw a line, what it means to share, how to sit in a circle, colors, shapes, letters, and so much more.
Thank you for taking care of the tiny human that made me a mom.
the Stay at Home Mom
(the Work at Home Mom/the Working Mom/anyone else who has felt these same feelings at the drop-off line.)