May 11, 2017

Claire's Last Day of Preschool

It's an overcast morning here, but when I dropped Claire off at preschool for the last time this morning, I had my sunglasses ready to go. I've had all the feels this week as we approach Claire's preschool graduation. It's hitting me hard.

I don't know why . . . I've been through this twice before. Someone suggested that it might be because it's my first girl graduating from preschool, and I wanted to punch that person in the face. Sorry - but only kind of sorry -  if it was you. I'm just about done with being polite when people imply that my girls will be my best friends forever while my boys will someday leave me and never give me a second thought. But that's an entirely different post.

I suspect it has something to do with the fact that I won't be sending her to Kindergarten while I still have a toddler and a newborn at home. Even when I was emotional about sending the boys to school, I welcomed one less person needing my attention all day. I think my emotions this week are actually the result of three preschool graduations. I don't think I ever really had the time or emotional space when the boys graduated to feel it all. The last 6 years are catching up with me, I suppose.

Claire's Last Day of Preschool - May 2017
 I also know what comes next. I know that she'll be gone 7 hours a day. I know that we'll have tired, grumpy afternoons 4 out of 5 school days. I know that she'll pick up mysterious phrases and attitudes that she never would have picked up from 2.5 hours of preschool, or here at home. I know that the attachment we have will be a little less. I know that soon she'll stop holding my hand. I know that she will make friends whose parents I don't know. I know that our crazy summer schedule will end about two days before she goes back to school, leaving little time for family vacations. I know that it's harder to miss a day of school once you reach the elementary age. I didn't know all of this when Jack graduated from preschool, and I only knew a little bit of it when Bennett did.

Bennett's Last Day of Preschool - May 2015

Jack's Last Day of Preschool - May 2012
For the next 3 years it'll just be me and Hattie. She'll go to preschool two mornings a week next year, and will probably have a babysitter a couple of days. I'll have to stay up fewer late nights getting my jobs done, because I'll have more available time during the day. So those are all good things.

Hattie will get way more attention during these years than any of her siblings, because there will be no one else fighting for it. That's a good thing, but it leaves me feeling incredibly guilty for not being able to give that to the others. They've all been more than ready for Kindergarten when they graduated from preschool, but I'm still left wondering if I've done enough while I've had them at home.

No more babies at our house.
All week I've been thinking about how I'll never have regular afternoons with Claire again. When I was home, it was just her and I while Hattie napped. I'm feeling all the guilt about the times I sat her in front of the tv so I could be productive. I'm feeling so sad that we won't get to take advantage of empty open skating afternoons anymore or just lay in bed and giggle about the crazy stories she makes up. And let me tell you: She makes up some doozies. At parent-teacher conferences, we were presented with a list of stories she told to her teachers. . . were you aware that I knit her clothes for her before she goes to school each morning? And that her dad found our dog that we thought had died up in the attic of our house? I could go on . . . but I won't.

I remember when Jack was born, having this overwhelming feeling of "How on earth will I be able to give him everything that he deserves?" I don't think that feeling will ever really go away. Sometimes I joke about it, but I really don't want my kids to stop growing or to slow down. So today, I'm going to try and push some of my own sadness aside and be thankful for healthy, thriving kids, doing what they're meant to do: Grow.

My phone just buzzed, reminding me that it's almost time to go sit in that pick up line and wait to see my sweet Claire skip hand-in-hand with her teacher one last time. She's growing up. They all are. Thank you, Jesus.

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