Yesterday was my youngest son’s last day of preschool. That’s a big day for Caden, of course. He’ll say goodbye to his teachers and his friends, enjoy a week and half break, and then start kindergarten at his older brother’s school. He’s excited, even if he doesn’t fully grasp it all yet, or even if he’s most excited about the Ninjago backpack and lunch box.
But the era that has ended is not Caden’s.
I’ve been driving to the boys’ preschool, twice a day, five days a week, for nearly 8 years. Eight years. Finn started there when he was about 7 months old, and because I was already working when Caden was born Caden has been there since he was just 11-weeks-old.
This preschool is not just a preschool, and it’s no ordinary daycare either. It’s a Christian weekday education program where kids are cared for, taught, instructed, and loved. The many teachers at this preschool — who over the years have held and fed and rocked my babies, have disciplined and potty trained by toddlers, and have taught both boys how to write their names and to say please and thank you — are like family.
When Finn had physical and speech therapy as a 1- to 3-year-old, the therapists came to the daycare and worked with him and his teachers on his progress. In fact, it was one of Finn’s teachers who told us about Alabama’s Early Intervention program that provides free therapy to children with developmental delays. Another of his teachers alerted me to a problem that, had she not, I wouldn’t have known to check into, and it turned out Finn needed to have a minor surgery to correct the problem and the minor surgery led to the discovery of his blood pressure troubles.
When Caden, who suffered so bad with eczema as an infant, had skin infections, his caregivers took extra special care of him. Many teachers the boys and I have grown attached to, so much so that even when the boys were no longer in their class we stopped by their room and said hi, hugged and listened to the teacher comment on how tall the boys were getting.
When my husband died last year, nearly every teacher there came to the visitation to love and hug and support me and Finn and Caden, like they’d done for years. It touched my heart that these teachers cared and loved their students and parents so much to do that, and I sent them a heart-felt thank you card to express how much that meant to me.
I’m going to miss that part of my family. It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later. The boys will be back there in summers. I promised to mail a Christmas card picture of the boys to the office and stay in touch other ways too.
Eight years, driving to the same place every morning and every afternoon.
As I said, the end of an era.