Today you are a Panda!
You are officially a preschoooler and today is your first day in Pre-School I, as a Panda, that’s the class mascot (In Preschool II, you become a llama!)
Every time I said you're a Panda, you'd correct me and say
No Mama! I a Polar Bear!
You desperately want to be a Polar Bear right now
We found out a couple weeks ago you'd be making the move and our first reaction was we’re not ready for this!!!! How can she be in preschool already, we just got to Toddler III!!! No no no!!! Stop growing up!!!
Funny how as parents the first thing we think about is us....not about you but about how you're milestone impacts us.....I know that sounds terribly selfish but believe it or not, it is harder for us to let you grow up then it is for you to actually grow up...so let me apologize in advance for the next 16 years and the way I'm pretty sure we will embarrass you at every school function we attend, your graduations, your proms and whatever else may come up.,....I'll apologize for your wedding day in a few years....
Anyway, from the moment we found out you would be moving up, okay, maybe not "the moment" as we spent a day in shock in denial, we’ve been talking up preschool:
We've been talking about how you’ll be with all your boys again (Jack, Nathan, Rye-guy, and Alex)
We've talked about how Caiti is going with you so you won’t be alone.
We've talked about how much bigger the room is, that there are more books AND, that now you get to be on the BIG side of the playground!!!!
This worked until you asked what about Rika and Ali, which was about 3 minutes after we talked up preschool
My Rika and my Ali come to preschool too Mama?
Oh honey, well, no...Rika and Ali will stay in Toddler III; the other kids still need them
You pondered this for a moment and came back with this:
But Mama, if I in Toddler III and I going to preschool and Rika and Ali are in Toddler III, then they go to preschool next too!
You stumped me Lucy....at 2.5 years of age, you have logic all figured out and I got nothing.....all I could do was rumple your hair and tell you you were going to be a great Panda...and you corrected me and told me you were going to be a Polar Bear
I'm not worried about you moving up Boo; neither is Daddy. We think you'll do great and the new challenges are just what you need.
Having said that, I know how much you love Rika and Ali and I know how hard it is going to be for you to leave them....they have given you so much over the past 8 months: love, guidance, discipline, routine, laughs, more love, hugs and kisses. They have set an incredible example for you...one that Mummy and Daddy appreciate and respect.
They give you everything they have........Ali brings you library books that you gobble up and Rika gives the best hugs. They both encourage and foster your love of "reading" and marvel at your love of animals. They admire your T Shirts (Ali loves the play doh one) and your stuffed animals....and it makes them laugh that every stuffed animal has its own unique name (Percy Penguin, Mickey Moose, Wilbur Whale, Puppy Jack)
Monday, I dropped you off at school as Daddy was sick (poor Daddy you said as you stood next to the bed and rubbed his cheek. Mama, what wrong with him you asked me. He's got a cold Lucy, he'll be ok...Be brave Daddy you told him as you patted his hand before paddling out of the room....)
On the way to school, I talked up preschool and being a Panda...you weren’t buying it.
You never cried but you begged and pleaded in the softest saddest little voice
Mama please! I just want to be with Rika and Ali! I love them Mama
Mama please, I just want to be a Toddler 3, not a Panda!
Mama I'll miss Rika and Ali...I need them...please Mama?!?
Mama please let me be with Rika, I promise I'll be good
I was fine until that last one, and then admittedly, a tear slipped down my cheek
I reminded you I loved you and that your move to preschool is not a punishment.....it’s just part of becoming a big girl. Moving up means its time to learn more about animals, and how to write your name. Moving up means new friends, more books to read, and new toys to play with.
You tried to reason with me
Mama, Rika can teach me to write my name and Ali brings me books!
Mama please, I just love them so much!
Mama please, I just love them so much!
You walked down the hall with a brave face but when you heard Rika's voice in the next room, your bottom lip quivered...so did mine. I put your things away excitedly showing you your new cubby, pointing out your name and birthday on the wall.
You just leaned against the wall listening to Rika and Ali laugh.
Mama they having so much fun, I miss them...I need a Rika hug.....
Mama! I need Rika and Ali...Mama Rika wants me! She's callin' me Mama!
You tried to open the door and I tried to distract you pointing out the new things in the room
The teachers and kids were over in Pre-School II and I tried to get you to go see them….but you just looked longingly at the door and craned your neck trying to catch a glimpse of Rika or Ali out the window
Lucy I can see Miss Barbara...you met her last week and we really liked her...and she has a turtle called Teddy!
You looked me in the eye and said
Rika has THREE turtles and I like Rika the best!
I kept plugging away Luce! I talked about how great Miss Lynne is...and we know she has to be great because she's Kylie's Mom and taught Kylie how to be a teacher and we loved having Kylie as a teacher....
Rika is a good teacher Mama, so Ali!
I was sinking fast
So I told you Miss Andrea and Miss Stacey are so excited to have you in their class...and I bet they can’t wait to see which books are your favorites
Ali knows ALL my favorite books Mama!
Oh Boo...all I could do was reach down and hug you. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a bucket full of animals.
Lucy, I whispered, I see some animals....
I pointed and you wandered over. You pulled the basket out and looked...
Mama! They have a polar bear! And a lion! And a elephant!
Lucy! Look at all these books over here!
You came over and marveled at all the books that were at your level....
What do you think, I asked, ready to give preschool a try?
A nod gave me the incentive I needed to take your hand and walk next door to Miss Barbara’s room
Miss Barbara immediately knew you were a bit emotional and distracted you with all the things in her room. You were captivated for a moment and I leaned down to kiss you goodbye when you looked up at me and whispered
I miss Ali, I miss Rika...I love them Mama
I know honey, and I'm sure they miss you too. But be brave....ok? Rika would want you to be brave and have fun in preschool
You muttered OK and turned your attention to some beans in a bucket
I kissed your head and told you to have a fun day
You went off with Caiti and Miss Barbara and for the first time in over two years, since your first drop off at your first day care, I cried on my way to work.
I felt terrible for you Lucy! You love Rika and Ali so fiercely and I know this move is hard and makes no sense in your head right now.....and I know that within a few days, you'll not be looking back but today, today it hurt me as much as it hurt you....
I wish I could tell you this is the worst thing you will ever have to deal with....that this is the worst you will ever feel.....but I can’t and its not
What I will tell you is I love you from the top of your head to the tips of your toes and I could not be more proud of you...or more proud to be your Mum....same goes for Daddy
I can tell you Rika and Ali love you as much as you love them and they miss you too
I can tell you the impression they made on you, weather you realize it or not, will be with you for years to come and as your Mum, for that I am grateful. They set the bar for the expectations you will have for people in your life....I could not pick better examples to live by
I can tell you leaving behind people you love with all your heart, or being left behind, hurts more than anything in the whole world...but you will always have someone to hug and love you....because you will always have Daddy and I….never forget that
I will tell you that though you may be happy with where you are in life and who you have in your life, there is always room for new and more friends....welcome them as you want to be welcomed
I can tell you Lucy that as you move through life, cherish the experiences and people whose path you cross and whose paths cross yours....and learn from them...learn the good, the bad, the fun and the sad...and be thankful for it
I will tell you that new places, new people, change, is scary and unsettling....but sometimes, it’s the best thing you can do for yourself
And I will tell you, remind you, that the love your Dad and I have for you is unconditional....even if you come home and tell me you're a Democrat, my arms will always be open for you.....you come home a Yankees fan, all bets are off
Lastly Lucy Ellen, I will tell you that whatever life, whatever God has in store for you, I know you will handle it with grace, humility, charm, humor and love.....make yourself proud and that will make Daddy and I proud........
I am, today, tomorrow and always,
...loving you to the moon and back,
...proud to be your Mum,
...hoping that you keep God in your thoughts as he keeps you in his