I still have memories from preschool. On beach day, I remember that I brought in the Disney princess towel that my mom had hand-embroidered with my name, and I wore a pink one piece bathing suit. Quite randomly, I remember some grandma scolding her granddaughter to never put shoes on the table when we had used shoes as planters. Preschool was fun!
Would my four-year-old self ever imagine that preschool would someday rack my body with uncontrollable sobs? Of course not, but that is exactly what is happening. Ryan starts preschool tomorrow. He laid his complete outfit on the dresser tonight all ready for the morning. We never had set plans for preschool, and, at this moment, we still don't see him entering school full time until probably the second grade. For various reasons, preschool became the right move for right now, and I'm full of excitement for my sweet boy (and for the "break" I'll be getting, but let's be honest ... Conor pulls his own weight in terms of energy and defiance).
But last week, while peering at his supply list, my chest started to heave and tears fell. Crayons, markers, glue, the keys to his ride out of dependency. I just can't believe that it is over. Never again will all our children be only in the nest. I'm hoisting myself up to peek out of the trenches I so wished would end. The trenches that made me sob for a break, a much needed break, and yet here come sobs again. But this time they come because the break has arrived, and it will slowly stretch year after year until our home is completely quiet. Silent heavy sobs anticipating the heavy silence of the future. Wasn't it just yesterday that I saw his dad for the first time in a Facebook friend request? Wasn't it just yesterday I felt him kicking in my belly for the first time and danced around full of joy in our first apartment to the best of Disney songs? Wasn't it just yesterday I was staring at him shell-shocked in the hospital, firmly resolved to never have another child? Wasn't it just yesterday I called his pediatrician to see if cloth diapers would make him bowlegged?
I don't know if I cry only because it's over or because I'm also not sure if I cherished it enough.
At the same time, I know to be grateful for the four full years we've had at home. When I was newly pregnant with Ryan, I was a nanny. I remember holding the baby I cared for and crying because I thought I would have to hand my baby over every day to someone else from the beginning. That fear didn't come true.
I know that eight hours away a week is nothing, and that he will enjoy the break from the same humdrum toys our tiny apartment holds. I know he's ready. Tonight he prayed, "Please help me at school. Please help me, God. Please help me when my crayons are broken." Ha.
I know it will be grand. But please excuse me while I go sob some more.