To the Moms In My Daughter’s Preschool Class

KB Self PortraitsToday is the last day of our kids’ second year of preschool and it’s a little hard to believe it’s here. Even though I’ve been through the preschool years twice before and many years ago, it’s still a bit startling to come to the end of a school year and realize that time is, indeed, passing. The kids are all taller, their little faces have changed in subtle ways and their unique personalities are shining through even more.

This year wasn’t the easiest for me. Maybe you know this and maybe you don’t. There are many reasons why this was so: my oldest daughter’s bat mitzvah with all its emotions to handle and details to plan, my own midlife struggle to find a balance between mothering, freelancing and writing, my husband’s intense work life and the generally chaotic dynamic of my three kids. These, thank God, are not major traumas but all of them happening at once and over an extended period of time set me off kilter. I couldn’t quite find my footing in our classroom even though I vowed to be engaged in Lilah’s life and not relinquish her to the status of Overlooked Third Child.

But life overwhelmed me.

What I really want to say is thank you. Thank you to the mom who started out as my co-classroom parent but then decisively took the lead when it came to organizing meals, coordinating Mom’s Night Out and reminding parents of upcoming events. I simply didn’t have the same bandwidth I had last year so having that off my plate was a gift. Thanks to the mom who stepped up to chair the auction when no one else would even though you work and also have two older children. Thank you to all the parents who came in for story time and journal writing not only with your own child, but mine as well. Thank you to the moms who invited us for play dates when I couldn’t quite get to Make a Play Date for Lilah on my to-do list. I am so grateful for every opportunity for her to spend more time with your children. Thank you to the moms who coordinated the end-of-year picnic and a lovely gift for the outgoing director. All I had to do was show up. Thank you, too, for coming to the all-school party at our house and letting us host. Honestly, that was the easiest, least stressful volunteer position on the form and we loved having you.

Most of all, thank you for always greeting me with a smile and a “How are you?” even though we haven’t spent much time together this year. Thank you for not judging me for my absence – truly, it’s not you, it’s me. I’ve wanted to come to every one of those Mom’s Night Outs and this weekend’s Dance Night, but I just haven’t been able to make it work. (Guess what I’m doing this Saturday night? That’s right, going to ANOTHER bat mitzvah party!). I don’t like missing these chances to let loose together, have more in-depth conversations and go beyond our kids to really get to know one another.

Even though there’s a small part of me that worries, in a very middle school kind of way, that by not being as present as I’d like, I’ll end up on the outside of “the group,” I also see that there really aren’t any exclusive cliques among us. I know from experience that certain kids gravitate to each other and that those parents end up spending more time together because of it. I see the adorable photos on Facebook of you and your kids hanging out together at the park or over a holiday. Instead of feeling left out, seeing you all together warms my heart and reminds me that you are pretty cool people who I want to spend more time with.

Next year is our final year together in preschool and my final year as a preschool parent ever. The reality of moving on from this phase of childhood and motherhood is bittersweet for me, but I’m planning to be all in. Knowing I’ll be in it with you and your kids makes it all the more special.

This is a Finish the Sentence Friday post, inspired by the prompt, “When it comes to cliques…” Hosted by Kristi from Finding Ninee and co-hosted by Jill from Ripped Jeans and Bifocals and Michelle from Crumpets and Bollocks.

17 thoughts on “To the Moms In My Daughter’s Preschool Class

  1. Such a nice tribute to the moms at your preschool. I can relate to these feelings, as my caboose is also entering his final year of preschool come fall. I have more mixed feelings about it than I realized, but having that support network makes all the difference. So glad you do!

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    1. Thank you Mimi. I really do have a great group of parents and I hope to have more of my head in the game for my last year of as a preschool mom. I never thought I’d be saying that as a woman in my 40s, but there it is! It’s definitely emotional leaving a certain childhood stage forever.

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    1. Thanks Jill. Sometimes it’s nice when life ties itself up in a pretty bow. I’m lucky to have such a great community. I wasn’t sure when I went “back to preschool” with my third having been out for four years that I would really fit in (I’m one of the oldest moms in the classroom). Turns out I just needed to be a little more open minded.

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  2. Six of my closest friends are moms I met in our kids’ preschool. Our kids don’t hang out anymore but we still do.

    This was a lovely tribute to the moms of your preschool…we all give the time we can, when we can. Judging other moms for their involvement or lack of it accomplishes nothing; I’m glad you have such a nice group to be a part of, Lisa. I hope next year is a little less hectic for you!

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    1. I love that you are so tight with so many women from the preschool years! I have a few close friends from the two rounds of preschool I did with my older girls and really wasn’t “looking” for more friends, but lucky for me, there are wonderful parents in Lilah’s class.

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  3. Your year sounded very intense indeed, and you know I can relate to the midlife angst and trying to balance writing and mothering.

    This post gave me hope though, when it comes to all the crap about mommy wars and women not being there for one another – because here, in your youngest daughter’s preschool class, they were. They helped you through without judgment and took the burden off your shoulders when you desperately needed it.

    I also appreciate your wisdom of being able to step back and not let your worries of what anyone was thinking consume you.

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    1. The thing that was such a relief for me this past year was not feeling guilty about not helping out more and knowing these other parents had it covered. A couple moms who read this have said, “What do you mean? You were so present!” but I still felt like my head wasn’t in the (preschool) game and I sort of coasted — thanks to them. Looking forward to summer 🙂

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  4. I was just talking with my younger boy tonight as I was tucking him in. “Can you tell something that parents know but kids do not?” “Well, sweetheart, parents are both happy and sad to see their kids grow up.” He was a bit confused by that answer, and even the follow up explanation that I gave — but clearly you understand! Mazal Tov to all three of your kiddos!

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    1. That is SO true Anna, the mixture of happy and sad. Both my big girls are away at camp right now and I’m grateful for the quiet and slower pace, but then I walk by their empty rooms and I’m a bit sad they’re gone.

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  5. Lisa, this is so perfect and honestly makes me a little jealous that you still have one in preschool. I really noticed my son growing up this year and *sob* he’s just so big! I’m glad that you have such a beautiful and supportive network of moms at school who can help when you’re overwhelmed. I only have one child and often feel overwhelmed so I give you a total pass on not doing everything yourself!

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    1. I’m really appreciating that I have another chance to do this motherhood thing with a little one again, but I have to balance my desire to be “in it” with the reality that I have two other girls who need me in such different ways now that they’re older. Always a challenge, but one I’m trying to meet with gratitude and a lot of help.

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  6. What a special way to honor them, Lisa.

    With heart,
    Dani

    P.S. I don’t think you want an apostrophe in “Mom’s” in your title, love. Just sayin’… 😉

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  7. You are doing much better than me. My third kid just graduated pre-school too this year. We missed the last day. The graduation. We didn’t know when it was. I’m homeschooling the oldest due to horrible teacher drama, and the middle kid had a different date for the last day of school. It was kind of funny too… My husband was in charge of taking them to school that week, and the first day she missed (her graduation), she claimed to not feel well. Though I would have known she was lying, my husband totally fell for it. The second day, he couldn’t find their clean clothes and didn’t feel like waking me up, so both kids missed (though I had no idea the Pre-K kid didn’t have school). That night, I was preparing their outfits and texting a fellow mom who doesn’t have a kid in Pre-K at all, and she was like, “How was Pre-K graduation yesterday?” and I was like, “Huh? Well I guess I don’t need to set out an outfit for her tomorrow.” So yeah. I’m reading your blog post thinking, “Three kids ay. Third one in Pre-K. And she volunteers with the classroom? Put a cape on that woman. She. Is. Supermom.”

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    1. Michelle I’m so in the same boat! I can’t even tell you how many sign-up sheets I missed and Have-Your-Kid-Wear-An-Old-T-Shirt to school today I had no idea about. The great thing is, people tell me Lilah is a happy kid (I bet your third is too?), always smiling so maybe she doesn’t notice or it doesn’t matter that much after all. Oh, and my one volunteer gig this year was the one time, Big House Party (adults only). Now THAT I can do!

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