Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The First Day

Today was M's first day at preschool. It's actually just the morning, two times a week, but when you've never left your kid in the care of anyone else (with the very rare exception of a relative or very close friend), it's a big deal.

Or maybe I just think it's a big deal. I see so much of myself in M--the shyness, the hesitation--that I sometimes superimpose my responses to situations over his own. I don't think that I push him in a certain direction, but I do know how I would respond and immediately work to counteract that, when in reality he might have a different response altogether.

This is why getting him a little time in someone else's care is a very good thing.

Still, you rehearse the big day over in your head, feeding in all the little horror stories you've heard along the way. And then you put on a brave face, take that little hand inside the big bad door, and steel yourself for the worst.

And, lo and behold, you are so very pleasantly surprised.

No tears on M's part. A little bit reserved, of course, but big boy took it all in stride (I can't say the same about Mom). When we picked him up, I prepared myself to console him, much as I'd been consoling myself the whole morning. Instead, there were bright smiles and big hugs.

"Did you have fun at preschool?" we asked cautiously.

You betcha. We heard about trucks and art and all the kids that M liked and how nice his teacher was.

"So you'd like you go back again on Thursday?" we said with a sigh of relief.

"No! I want to go back every day."

And the sadness remains, but oh how it's overshadowed by pride.

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