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One of Ryan's favorite places was his preschool. It was a long road for him to really fall in love with preschool, but once he understood the place and made tiny friends you could literally see his heart expand when he chatted about "kool" (that's how he would say school). At first, quite frankly he hated preschool and would scream and cry at every drop off. His teacher softly explained to me that I should drop him off quick, sign him in and scram. You know ... not drag out the "Good Bye" process. Talk about heart wrenching! As we got ready for preschool I chatted Ryan up totally pro-preschool;
Me: "Ryan! You ready dude! Today is going to be so fun with all your friends!"
Ryan: "No. I can stay home wif you."
Once in the car we were fine. All smiles coming from the back seat with quick requests for "Mom, pay my song! .... Pay my song pwease." While Katy Perry and Pharrell crooned in the background I would still be trying to plug positive about preschool;
Me: "Aren't you excited to paint and read books with all the other nice kids?"
Ryan: "Yes! I can paint."
Me: "Alright! Ya! You can totally paint! It is going to be so fun!"
I'm telling you he was all smiles...
As we pulled up to the school and the smiles started to fade...
We get out of the car and the pleading to go back home starts...
At this point I stopped talking up preschool and started talking up myself...Because I needed a little encouragement. I'm not a terrible mom am I? My kid is screaming and I am still making him do something he doesn't want to do! My voice is loud, borderline shrill...
"Mommy loves you Ryan. Everything will be OK, I promise. I love you..."
In the school lobby Ryan melts down and really lets me have it. Giant crocodile tear drops, fall down his rosy cheeks. His beautiful giant brown eyes (that look similar to mine) narrowing in on me...As if he is trying to tell me "You better not be leaving me here woman!"
His teacher sweetly takes his hand and gives me a nod and a reassuring smile...
I walk back to my car and cry. That big time wheepy cry where you can feel your heart break in two and the tears and snot fall free all over. I call my mom and ask her if I'm doing the right thing.
The truth is, I was going back to work full time.
The truth is, Ryan needed to go to preschool because both his parents had to work.
The truth is, the crying only lasted a week and three days.
I like to imagine him still running into his class and all his friends scream "HI RYAN!". I sometimes sit really still and think hard about the countless times I dropped him off and picked him up. I can smell the glue and sack lunches, I can hear the kids scream "RYAN YOUR MOM IS HERE!". I like to imagine him running around the playground laughing with his friends all sweaty ... whenever he played he always got a little sweaty. And I can still hear him say "ya! I have fun. I play wif Emawee" He loved a little girl named Emily ... I wish I knew her parents so I could just tell them that their little girl was so loved by my little boy.
I would take a photo every morning before we would get into the car and head to preschool. I can't tell you how many times early morning walkers would look at us funny. But it was just what I did and I'm so happy I did it. I can barely look at the photos now with out crying or feeling all the bad things, but I'm so grateful I have them. I have them all to cherish and look at when I'm good and ready. Also, I can't post about preschool with out showing you one of my favorites.
His favorite shoes and his favorite monster lunchpail ... Ready to run and have the best day always.