My son turned 3 last week.
And then a few days later - on his original birth pregnancy due date -
he started pre-school.
He was so ready. He could not wait to meet new friends, play on the new playground, have a cubby to put his things, use his new Cars sleeping bag (we couldn't find a tractor one so he settled for Cars instead like a good boy!).
We took a zillion pictures that morning of him in his big boy outfit, with his backpack, ready to go.
Does he look even a little bit scared to you?! That's a big N-O.
I like this picture below because despite his hugeness and the fact that he's going to pre-school, he had just woken up when we took this picture and it shows me his baby face, tired, scrunched up a bit. And he's not as tall as that basketball hoop, which reminds me he's still my little man in there, somewhere.
It's a huge step.
One my son has been ready for for months. He's taller and older acting than a lot of kids his age. He's been ready for this next big thing for a while, wanting to do more and learn more and get into a new adventure. Most of the mom in me was super happy for him that he got to do this new thing, go on this new exciting journey in his development.
But of course, the other part of the mom in me was devastated. How could he be big enough to do this pre-school thing? Would the other kids be nice to him? Would he make friends? Would he like it there, or miss his babysitter who's known him since he was 11 weeks old? Would the new teachers treat him how I'd want to treat him? Would this process get any less scary for me as his mother?!
Dropping him off I knew I'd cry.
It was way worse than it was the first day I left him when he was an infant and I had to go back to work after maternity leave. I sobbed this time. I barely made it out the door of the school without screaming crying! I ran out the door, leaving my husband inside because I didn't want my son to see me cry.
I wanted this. I knew he was ready for this next step.
But that doesn't matter when it comes to the heart of a mother.
We know they are ready, this is the next thing for them, what's good for them.
We even know in our minds they WILL be fine, happy even, in this new place.
But we are moms. And that means we wear our hearts outside our bodies.
And some days that's just too much to bear.
So we cry. We sob. We smudge our makeup and brush away our messed up hair, and we hunch over, holding our stomach where that baby once was kept safe and sound, and wish it wasn't so that he was super big and running around toward the future, wish we desperately could go back to when he was a teeny tiny baby who slept a lot and smiled every time he woke up from a nap and didn't know how to say a word yet.
It goes by so fast.
That is the biggest thing that made me cry.
Of course I was worried about those what-ifs (would the kids be nice? would he make friends? would they know what to do when he got upset about something or would the teachers recognize his signs for needing to poop like I can spot a mile away?).
But more so, I was crushed at the idea that, "This is it... This is the beginning of the end."
I know that sounds morbid and it's not meant to. It's just that this felt like, OK here we go, speeding toward graduation day when he'll go off speeding away in his car to some college and we'll be visiting him on long weekends and praying he's eating healthy food and staying out of trouble and focusing on school versus friends.
This moment dropping my 3-year-old at pre-school made me fast forward to think about the first day of Kindergarten (OMG so not going to survive that!) and middle school and getting his license and applying to schools... It's just a lot to imagine when you stare at a little guy who likes the word no and begs me nonstop to do it himself instead of me taking the lead.
It just flies by. And we can't stop it or control it.
And honestly most days I LOVE this about being a mom. I enjoy watching the new developments.
But some days, like I said, it's just too much to bear. And so I left pre-school sobbing.
On the way to pre-school I kept thinking of Will I Am's song "Hall of Fame."
My son IS going to be "the greatest, the best, the king kong banging on his chest, the world... a champion." He can "move a mountain, break rocks, be a master, not wait for luck, dedicate himself..." Totally. That is SO my son. Pre-school helps with that.
I just had this huge sense that I need to STOP and memorize EVERYTHING from now on.
I need to write it all down, more than I already do. I need to take even more pictures (is that even possible? I know you're asking it, it's all good!). I need to slow down and prioritize and lay on the floor with my boy more than I already do. I need to make crazy truck noises and learn the names of his prized tools (hack saw? hand saw? who knew there were so many names?!).
It's fleeting, mommas.
We only get them little for a little while.
Make it count.
Oh and when I picked up my son, by the way, he kicked and whined and told me to leave, he needed to stay at pre-school " BY-MY-SELF" to work on his own, I could leave. He ignored me in the car and said he wanted to go back to pre-school the rest of the night. Um, OK, we'll consider that a great first day!
One proud momma of one excited boy.
All is well.