Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First day of "real" school

Yesterday was the first day of school for Dylan and Caitlyn and a half day of kindergarten orientation for Meghan.  And honestly, I thought my heart might never recover from the exquisite pain of it all.  I thought we were prepared.  I thought we knew just what to expect.  But what I could have never prepared for with any amount of careful planning was the tumble my heart would take when I saw my sweet little homeschoolers join the throngs of other children on the great big playground for the first time.  I'm sure I should have felt proud--and I did, just a little, but not near enough to compensate for the sick jolt of loss and despair that cut me to the very depths of my soul.  Walking away from my babies, abandoning them there adrift in a sea of strangers, was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do.  But, I really felt that we did have to do it.  For a number of reasons which I may or may not address in a separate post, this was the decision we'd made because we thought it would be best for our children.  And, after so much careful and prayerful consideration it just seemed wrong to not give school a fair chance.  "We know the alternative," we reasoned.  "If it doesn't work out we will not hesitate to bring them back home."

But.  The happy children who rushed to greet us upon our return yesterday afternoon were clearly not traumatized.  They were, if anything, more confident than they had been upon arriving that morning.  They had not only survived the day but enjoyed the day.  Caitlyn had made new friends and discovered that her teacher is an active parishioner at our church.  Dylan actually participated in class and remembered an astonishing number of details to share about his day, and was happy to see that one of his classmates is a girl from his catechism class.  Meghan loved the orientation she and I attended together and is really excited to return to her classroom on Thursday, her first day of kindergarten.  It's tricky business, this growing up.  It's so hard for me as their mother to see these beautiful souls as separate from me, but they are.  Each is truly a unique individual, made by and for our Father in heaven and I look in wonder and awe at His marvelous creations.  I was so worried about relinquishing them to outside influences, but one of my friends on facebook addressed that unspoken fear so perfectly that I have to share it here:  "Don't worry, momma, they won't forget who they are in public school- they'll be great kids anywhere they are!"  I love that!  I just have to hope and trust that Darren and I have done our jobs well up to this point and of course we will remain very much involved in their education and socialization.  I'm missing them terribly today, but have to reluctantly admit that I'm eager to see the new directions this path will take us! 
Thank You, God, for making me the mother of these beautiful children, 
and for the joy and privilege of being their first teacher.  


Jill said...

I love your words.
I love the kids' hand holding.
I love your family!

Tammy said...

I thought of you often yesterday! I know how hard that had to be because I always dread that first day of school, and my kids have always gone to public school! So glad to read how much they enjoyed it, though. I know that makes it easier on you. :-)

We still need to get together for a playdate sometime...

Jen said...

I could have written every single word of that post myself last February. There is something about watching them walk (or in my kids case..run..was that a hint??) into that school building...especially after you have been there for everything..walking, talking, reading, writing, etc. However, I think it takes a huge amount of self knowledge and HUMILITY to do know what we can and cannot do at any given time. We want what is best for our kids, and sometimes that means not homeschooling. You are awesome and so are your kids...;-)

RAnn said...

All schools have good points and bad points and even working moms get separation pangs when the kids move to schools with more kids, more teachers, less parental contact. You'll do just fine (and so will the kids).

I'd like to invite you to participate in Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival, a weekly gathering where Catholic bloggers share their best posts with each other. This week's host post is at http://rannthisthat.blogspot.com/2011/08/sunday-snippets-catholic-carnival_27.html