The day had finally arrived. The day I had looked forward to and had dreaded all at the same time. The day I thought I would cry and become a basket case; it was the day I registered Hayley Grace for preschool. Preschool came quickly. Too quickly in some ways. She has always been here at home or with our family. I didn’t think I was ready for that next step or that I could do it by myself. Yet, there I was … parking my car and looking in my visor mirror, making sure I looked like a “normal mom”, instead of the bundle of emotions I was on the inside. I smiled my biggest “I am so happy to be here” smile and walked into the building.
As I stood in line, I was looking for the nearest exit, simply because Hayley Grace was just not ready for this step. She is just not ready … or maybe I am just not ready. She is supposed to be a newborn, crying for her bottle. Cooing when she plays with her Daddy’s tie. Swinging until she is lulled to sleep by the sweet music her swing plays. She is not supposed to be 4. The baby years flew by, and some days I look back and am almost convinced those times happened to someone else. You know, people always say, “Enjoy this time, it goes by fast.” Some new parents probably dismiss that as small talk or more advice they didn’t ask for. However, I clung to that little statement. It is so true. All the moments with her have been so precious, even the less-than-remarkable ones. They have all taught me things such as patience, joy, love, and even fear.
As I continued to wait, I began to try and focus on all the wonderful things that await her at preschool. All the new things she will learn. All the new interests she will gain. All the new friends she will make. The people that I had encountered so far that morning were very nice, and the kids I saw coming and going looked happy. I started to feel a little better about this next phase in our lives … a little.
Finally, it was my turn to meet the director and turn in my paperwork. She was so nice and answered all of my questions, even the ones I didn’t ask. She answered the unspoken questions with her kindness and understanding. Apparently, my “normal mom rehearsal” in the car was for nothing, because this lady could tell I was nervous. I had a sneaking suspicion that she had seen this routine before. After we talked and she helped me become more familiar with the preschool, I started to relax. I began to realize even more than before that new adventures await my sweet girl within those walls. Lifelong friendships will be made on that playground. Important lessons will be learned in the classroom, things she will never forget.
As I was leaving, I stood at my car for a moment, looking back at the school and envisioning Hayley Grace walking through those doors with her backpack on, her “Bunny” tucked somewhere inside, her lunchbox in hand, wearing an outfit that she, no doubt, picked out herself. Maybe her shoes will be on the wrong feet. (Don’t worry, I’ll fix them before she goes in.) Possibly, her socks won’t match. (Punky Brewster is often her style icon.) No matter what, though, she will greet that first day with her enviable confidence and her contagious sparkle. She is going to do amazing things!
(Pictured below is the little bundle of confidence and sparkle herself with Bunny!) Hmmm. . . maybe the real title of this should be “Ready or Not, Preschool, Hayley Grace is coming!”