When I wrote about Annike's tears and worries before her first day of preschool, I received more comments via email than ever before. Something about this tender-hearted girl's sadness about going off to school struck a chord with people who know and love her.
Fortunately, we had the most fabulous preschool teachers I could ever have dreamed up for my daughter. They even let her carry her green blankie, A.K.A. "Sniffy", around with her and greeted it at circle time by name. Thank the Lord for creating women like this to be in our children's lives! Preschool teachers are a special breed of people and have a unique understanding of kids at this sensitive age.
Now we sit on the eve of her first day of Kindergarten. Annike seems quite a bit more ready for this day than she did a year ago. She understands that green blankie will be left at home, and doesn't seem nearly as upset about it as she thought she would be. Her biggest concern is that she will have to wear clothes every day, a uniform at that. But I have informed her that the clothing-no-longer-optional day was inevitable whether she started school or not. She will get over it in a few months time.
We thought having Sommer model Annike's new school uniform would help. I guess we will find out tomorrow...
I did find renewed faith in her readiness when I overheard her this week telling Sommer with a sing-songy excited voice, "Sommy, next week I get to go to Kindergarten!"
It is I who am the one feeling sad now, in a nostalgic letting-go kind of way. The first day of Kindergarten is a milestone in a child's life. It marks the end of those carefree, agenda-less days and the beginning of a decade or two filled with schooling. It is the first year of retainable memories from childhood. It is the end of informal education and the beginning of the formal kind. Less and less are the parents the main educators as this day begins a child's transition to being influenced more and more by people outside of the parents' realm of protection.
In some ways this sadness seems silly because it is really only 3 short hours a day and she probably already knows half of what she is going to learn this year. But I do feel nostalgic. I think I get it from my dad because the story goes that on my first day of Kindergarten, my dad cried as I got on the bus. My mom was apparently just excited because her new piano was being delivered that day. Now that I am experiencing this momentous day on the side of the parent, I can't believe they actually put me on the BUS with all of those big 5th graders on my first day of school!! What were they thinking??!
Aaahh, but clearly I survived even the bus.
Well, Annike-dear, that day has finally arrived when school will be every day. This day is the same one you were crying big crocodile tears over as you snuggled your blankie a year ago. You are almost 5 years old now and you are indeed ready to step bravely into your first day of Kindergarten. It reminds me that not a single one of these days we have had at home together have been wasted. Some of those days were long and tedious, some fun and packed with laughter, some filled with tears for no reason or short tempers or frustration. But not a single day has held wasted time because you and I were growing together. Now I have to trust that we are doing our best to fully equip you for this little world that you will learn to love and that you will surely find a special place in. We love you just the way you are, so don't grow up too fast!