In January of 2013, I braved what so many parents do every single day. I dropped my kids off with a stranger. And left them. It was very, very hard. Especially when I peeked in to see how they were doing on Day 2. Claire was sitting on her teacher’s lap crying. It was all I could do to keep my feet firmly planted and not go hug my hurting little girl. When I finally drove out of the parking lot, I felt like I was leaving pieces of my heart there.
But each day it got better. For them and for me. And eventually I didn’t need to peek in and see how they were doing.
Fast forward to 2015. They run each day to the door, happily jabbering about whose going to tell Miss Christi something. And when I pick them up, they excitedly jump up and down, quickly talking over each other about the fun things they did that day. Preschool was very, very good for them. And for me (surely this will make Kindergarten easier, right?). And for my work-from-home job.
We have all grown so much in the last 2.5 years. But one of the best moments from these past few years was on the last day.
Like many kids, Claire’s school behavior was different than her home behavior. She was more reserved. Less likely to voice her opinion or her feelings. More likely to hang back instead of lead, which was the norm at home. And when she gets nervous, she tends to use different voices (most of the time a baby voice), which to the unknowing, can sound strange? I worried that she wasn’t being “seen.” That all of her heart, her love, her deep caring for others, her silly, smart, funny sides were being overshadowed by this exterior that she was projecting.
It was one of the reasons we decided to put the girls in the same room during their last year of preschool (previously, they were separated). Grace’s teacher was the type who would look beyond the book cover and really “see” her kiddos. From day one, Grace felt special. You could see it in her eyes as they twinkled when she talked about her teacher — Miss Christi was very revered in our household. During parent-teacher conferences, it was obvious she loved Grace, too. My heart beamed for our spirited, spunky little girl.
But I was worried about Claire. Worried that during this formative time, she didn’t feel that kind of love. So, we decided to put Claire in Grace’s room, and we were very pleased with how things turned out. Claire was starting to feel special, too. But there was always part of me that wondered about the first 1.5 years — was the true Claire ever really “seen?”
On their last day, one of her teachers from her original class gave her a note. And as I read it, the tears began to flow. This teacher got Claire. She saw beyond the exterior and really understood this special little girl. And my heart beamed for our quiet, soulful little girl.
I don’t have enough words to tell you what a kind-hearted, loving, beautiful-soul of a young lady you are!! I feel very honored to be have been able to watch you grow. You will be doing so many great things next year, I hope you come back and tell us all about it. Enjoy your summer and have fun with the new baby! I will miss your hugs and your whole family!”
A few pictures from this year’s preschool adventures: