Yesterday, we went and visited a preschool for Brandon. “The Berenstain Bears’ ‘Go To School'” kept running through my mind. Brandon took it all in: the lego table, the playdoh, the blocks, the artwork. He found a book and sat down in their reading chair as if he belonged there.
I’ve been asking him if he wanted to go to school for awhile now and his answer had always been, “no mom, I want to stay home with you and Holdy.”
Now, he says, “when I’m a little bit bigger, I can go to school, right mom?” And when I ask what he would possibly want to do at school, away from mom and Holdy, he replies, “play with other kids and learn my letters,” with complete conviction.
I wasn’t against preschool before, but I didn’t see any necessity for it. I am a stay-at-home mom so why send him away for a couple hours a week and pay someone to watch him when I am completely capable myself? But I learned yesterday that preschool is to prepare us for school; the parents just as much as the children. If we can let our kids go for a couple hours a day, a couple days a week, then maybe we can fathom a whole day at school.
We loosen our leashes a little at a time as these tiny babes of ours turn into boys, then teenagers, then adults. One day they bite off their collars and run wild and free, only to return when we call them back for dinner.
I swallowed my tears as I watched my babe seamlessly fold into the preschool life for an hour. I imagined him seamlessly learning to drive, to get a job, to buy his own house. He will handle it all with his usual aplomb, and I will handle it all with my usual exaggerated emotional breakdowns.
Then this morning, Brandon recited his letters perfectly and asked me if he could go to school today.
“Not today, but in September,” I replied.
He looked at me for just a moment, then resumed reading his alphabet book.
It was as if he was checking on me, making sure I am ready to let him grow up.
So I didn’t cry in front of him. Let him think he got his aplomb from me, until he learns otherwise.