It’s the boy’s last day of preschool today.
I’ve known this was coming all week. I was preparing for it, doing the last of the kindergarten shopping, scheduling the gift-buying for his educator, and so forth. But it wasn’t until last night when we picked him up and they told us that it was going to be an end-of-summer fiesta/birthday for one of the kids/our boy’s farewell party that it really hit me. One last drop-off; one last pick-up.
I’m going to miss them. They’re fabulous people, and they’ve done wonderful work with the boy. Numbers, letters, songs, attention span and focus, helping out, French, socialization, skills and techniques; they know their stuff. Even though he’s not officially attending after today, now that we’re in the neighbourhood I know that we’ll see them often enough. Heck, they’re coming to our housewarming party; I think we’re booked to help stain their fence next spring. The boy has an open invitation to hang out on any Friday night at the new TGIF for kids thing they’re doing outside of the regular daycare hours to give parents a night off for themselves or to run errands without handling a squirmy child (and upon being told that there would be Friday night babysitting available, all the kids planned for a pyjama night there with pizza at some point amongst themselves and informed the educator). And they’ve stressed that we have an open invitation to drop by after school any time, which just happens to be across the street.
The boy is excited. He’s been looking forward to the party today (there is a pinata and he is determined to be the one to whack it open), and he’s excited about kindergarten next week. He did a lovely picture for his educator at the kitchen table this morning, with great printing (look at that spacing!) and a picture of a robot, his car and trailer, and a robot bug ( “But not a bad robot bug,” he said to me. “It doesn’t sting or bite.” “I know it’s a good robot bug,” I said, “because you’ve put a smile on it.”).
He’s grown so much over the past two years there. About a year ago his main educator told HRH that if she got him through to kindergarten without having to take him to the hospital with a broken bone she wanted a medal. Well, we haven’t gotten her a medal; we think we’ve done something better. We’re going to present her with a gift certificate for the nearby Spa Strom so she can treat herself to a day of relaxation and pampering. We figure she totally deserves it after corralling him for twenty-four months, along with ten other kids.
Tonight we’re having a special dinner to celebrate the end of preschool: steak, roast potatoes, steamed broccoli with cheese sauce, and we’ll walk to the nearby ice cream parlour (recommended by his educator!) for a dessert treat. Next week we have two days off together, and then an hour-long private meeting with his new teacher on Wednesday, a morning half-day on Thursday where he’ll take the bus in and I’ll pick him up at lunch, and an afternoon half-day on Friday where I’ll drop him off after lunch and the bus will bring him home. On one of those days we’ll go get new library cards from the local branch, and stop to play at the big playground we pass that’s halfway between school and home.
First days are hard. But so are last days. Sometimes, though, you don’t realise it for a little while.