I can’t really put my finger on the source of my anxiety about the transition from preschool to kindergarten.
We, the parents, are not ready.
She, the eager excited 5-year-old daughter, is so ready.
Daycare is what we’ve known. It’s been a very important part of the ‘village’ for 5 years. I can recite all of her teachers: Ms. Renita. Ms. Terry. Ms. Jessica. Ms. Mariska. Ms. Erica. Ms. Leslie. People with whom we developed relationships, who knew our daughter only second best to us and her grandparents. They helped her learn so many things: the normal stuff like ABCs and 123s, but also how to go potty, how to develop friendships, how to have manners, and how to be a caring person. Together we’ve discussed new strategies to help her accomplish a milestone. They’ve been our friends, and we’ve vented to each other about her challenging behaviors that we were both familiar with, a hard work day or sleepless night at home.
I hope I showed adequate appreciation for their special places in our lives. They have been true partners to us, and invaluable ushers in her early growth and development. I will miss that.
I worry what kindergarten holds for us. We love her current teacher so much, and I worry about what a new teacher in her life will mean for all of us. How many kids will be in her class? Will she go from a class of 10 to a class of 20 or more? Will her intelligence, creativity and spunk get lost in that crowd? Will we be astute enough to help her navigate school – not just kindergarten, but beyond? The step to kindergarten somewhat represents a step to “big S” School which could eventually mean (though I hope not) – a step to exposure to bullies, disappointment, hurt and failure.
I realize I’m getting ahead of myself.
My baby is growing up so fast. I find myself reflecting on the past five years, and trying to bring to the forefront things I want to remember from when she was a baby, the special things she did, like blow raspberries while she swung like a monkey in her Johnny jump up. It makes me sad that recalling those memories is harder and harder. I have less free time and quiet space to make the nest that I need to focus on those details.
I have to remember that her going to kindergarten does not negate any of those memories, nor my ability to recall them. But time is getting ahead of me. I don’t want to lose them.
Maybe the question isn’t “Are we ready for kindergarten?” but “Are we ready for life to change, come what may?” When you’re like us, satisfied in a life-moment with two precious kids who, despite the challenges of parenting, bring you more joy than you ever thought possible, the answer will always be no.