Now it’s my little one’s turn. Austin had his first solo day of preschool today and, let me tell you, it was not easy. He’d already done two days but I was in the building for both, a fact he knew and clung to for comfort and security. Today was the day that I’d actually be leaving, my first of many hundreds of days ahead with both my boys in school. I was excited, of course, for my 2 1/2 free hours, ready to have coffee with my mom and then take a pilates class. Austin? Not so excited.
As we walked from Braedan’s school to Austin’s, he complained the whole time, saying he didn’t want me to leave and threatening to not play with anyone (“not a single kid,” he said with defiance). We arrived and he kept whining, “But Maaaaahhhhhhhmmmmmmeeeeeee.” We hung up his backpack, washed his hands and in we went. Find your name from the pile, greet your teacher, see who’s parent helping, check out the Lego table in the hopes it would be enticing . . . But instead he was in my arms with his shorter ones tightly wrapped around my neck and crying.
Ugh. The worst. I know we all do it. I know I had to do it with Braedan when he was starting preschool and Mommy was leaving him behind to go take care of his brand new baby brother. I know if it were another new parent there, I would coach them through, telling them it will all be okay, this is just part of growing up. But somehow with Ausin, everything seems magnified. The very fact that we’re there, that he actually has the chance to attend preschool, seems like a huge deal. And, as I’ve said before, Austin is a wee bit attached to his momma. Comforting him has been my main job and such a significant part of our relationship, beyond the normal mother-child bonds. My physical presence has been his source of strength for the past two-plus years.
But I had to go. So after I exited, the teacher brought him to the window and I placed my hand against his and said goodbye one last time, walking away while his cry filled the air behind me.
My mom had come to take me to coffee, a first day of school ritual. She had a gift for me, a little figurine of a woman holding a bird in her outstretched arms, letting it go.
Letting it go.