It's a big week around here. On Monday, we sent Brandon off for his first day of preschool. It's true that he attended preschool last year, but this year he will attend three half days a week instead of just two, and we moved him from morning preschool to afternoons as his teachers at daycare thought he was ready for a full day of learning and play rather than being forced into a quiet napping period in the afternoons. It also means that in just one more year we'll be sending him off to kindergarten. Lord knows I'm not ready for that just yet...
And on Tuesday, it was Jaden's turn. He's a first grader now... or a "grade-schooler" as he likes to call it. And holy cow, did he look so grown up that morning. Even his new teacher made a comment to me that he looked like he had grown since she first met him last week.
I didn't shed any tears this year like I did last year. Neither did my kiddos. We went through all the normal night before and morning of school prep that is common place in every child-filled home this time of year. We carried out our yearly tradition. A special lunch out for Brandon his first day and a special breakfast out with Jaden on his first morning. It's amazing to me that they remember this from year's past and both look forward to it so much. It's not like it's the only time our kids get to go out to eat, but even their young minds seem to recognize the significance of this tradition and the special right of passage that it is every year. Another year older, another year wiser and another year closer to the front door.
There were some differences this time around. Last year, Brandon was the shy and nervous one, collapsing in a heap in the hallway outside of his preschool room and crying for Mommy to come with him. And Jaden was the confident one on his first day of kindergarten, not at all nervous and eagerly excited, while Mommy was the one with crazy butterflies in her stomach and tears shed on and off throughout the day after dropping him off. This year, Brandon was the excited one, confidently standing in line with his friends, blowing frequent kisses to me while waiting for his teacher to escort them back and even doing silly camera poses for me and his teacher in front of his class bulletin board before the afternoon started. And Jaden was the nervous one, not at all wanting the day to come, having had too much fun with his summer and unwilling to let it go. I totally get that, but I also know he'll be totally fine. He embraces change and new experiences so well. And he makes friends quickly everywhere we go.
But my proudest moments of these first days of school and something that I will probably remember for a lifetime came when both my kids asked sincerely for me to pray for them as we started our days. All the doubts and guilt and questions on if I'm doing them right in how I mother them faded away in those moments as I experienced my sweet and innocent little people request prayers for "good days" on such important days in their world. We prayed for bravery when we get scared, for the desire to work hard and play hard, for safety and health and new friends. We prayed we would be good friends to others, that we would learn a lot and that we would have lots of fun, too. They were special prayer requests from two special little boys that I am so very proud to call mine.
So here we are... another school year kicked off. Another year of learning to let go little by little. Drop them off. Pick them up. Help them with homework. Dry their tears. Teach them how to be good human beings. Tuck them in bed and kiss them good night and pray for good days every day. Encourage them to spread their wings and be a brave mommy watching them do it. Wash, rinse, repeat. Love them, love them, love them.
P.S. Those first days of school? They both rocked it.