Today 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.