August 8th was hands down, one of the most difficult days I’ve experienced in my four years as a mom. The buildup was intense, but I held it together (barely) until I walked out those doors.
Excitement. Anxiety. Sadness. Confusion. Worry.
So many emotions were flooding our family. The energy when we walked through those double doors and into the classroom was something unreal. There was zero question in my mind this was where Charleigh June (and eventually the twins) belong. And, I can honestly say it was something I’d never experienced walking into a school before.
We made it down to the classroom – helped her hang her book bag in her cubby, put her snack in the snack bin, gave her hugs and kisses, signed her in, handed her teacher her folder, and pushed her in. She lost it, but I held it together. I reminded her of how much fun she was going to have and promised I’d be back to get her, her teacher warmly embraced her and took over from there.
Cami started crying, yelling for her big sister. I carried her to the truck, reassuring her. I knew this was going to be a tough day for everybody. Once we got to the truck, it was Coleson’s turn to start crying. Any guesses what that did to Mommy’s heart???
We stopped at Starbucks, picked up cake pops for the kids and coffee for me. I was so nervous I couldn’t drink all of it. We continued to drive around, running a few errands and moseyed the aisles at Target. I continued to check my phone, fully expecting a call that she was inconsolable. Much to my surprise, the phone call never happened.
We pulled into the school to pick her up a bit early, there was already a pickup line for the half-day kiddos. We parked and talked about how much we missed her, but how important it was for her. That’s when Coleson surprised all of us.
His door swung open. I could have sworn I had the child door locks engaged. Thank goodness we were parked at the time. My husband jumped out, and promptly fixed said child locks. We asked Coleson what he was doing, “I’m goin’ to get June-June!”
My heart melted.
Seriously, could that be any sweeter? The heart-melting didn’t last long, because next, he threw his shoes at me because she wasn’t in the car yet.
Her teacher brought the sign-out sheet to us, and we signed her out. She asked how I handled it, and all I could muster was shaking my head. Charleigh June came out to the car, red-cheeked from playing on the playground, and excited to see us. I was beyond excited to see her, and couldn’t wait to hear about her day.
Everybody said it would be easier the next day. That was somewhat true. I did a much better job holding myself together. Until she ran after me, that is. I gave her hugs and kisses, reassured her, and pushed her into her classroom. She cried out for me again, but I knew her teacher had it all under control. I had to turn around and walk out of the building quickly. When the twins realized she wasn’t with me, they started screaming and crying. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know the tears started flowing quite liberally at that point.
We are all learning.
While school only started a few days ago, I’ve learned so much from the time away from Charleigh June.
1. The twins get along SO much better without her. I’ve always thought that she played them against each other, but this is proof.
2. Early Childhood teachers are rock stars. I cannot imagine having a classroom full of four-year-olds, those that do are absolute Angels. I may be a bit biased, but I think we have one of the best. She’s their teacher, but she’s also a mother. And for that, I’m thankful.
3. Check your emotions at the door. Never let them see you sweat it, they feed off of your energy. The most important thing is holding it all together while you’re with them, anything after that is fair game.
4. Vehicle nametag hacks. I’m a newbie and left the nametag on the dashboard the first few days. It wasn’t long until I noticed what the experienced parents did – hang their nametag from a hanger with clips. GENIUS!
5. Never hesitate to voice any concerns or email the teacher. I was THAT parent and emailed the teacher after three days. Charleigh June isn’t perfect, and I want to keep an open line of communication going with her teacher. I was concerned about her behavior and whether or not she was actually following directions. Her teacher reminded me that everybody is still learning. New people, new environment, new distractions, etc.
It’s early still, and I expect too much too soon, but I can see a few changes in her already. She’s all about washing her hands constantly, which makes this germaphobe incredibly happy. She’s burning off energy with her new friends, and new friendships are blooming. I’m beyond proud of what she’s accomplished in this short period of time, and cannot wait to watch her flourish. I can already tell that it’s going to be a good year.
Special thanks to Mrs. Dobler, for the first time in forever I have a child who isn’t afraid of flushing the toilet! Early Childhood Educators are the real MVP.