It seems like only yesterday (but was actually almost nine months ago) that I wrote a blog lamenting the difficulty we had getting my daughter adjusted to her first preschool. Shameless plug: by all means, feel free to read it.
Today my daughter completed the requirements for her three year class** and we are looking back on the academic year as she celebrates her accomplishments and looks ahead to her four year class in September.
I recall that there was a divide in both the comments on the blog and in my personal email from family and friends. Some encouraged “hang in there!” while others questioned whether or not my daughter was “ready” for school. I don’t doubt the sincerity of any of these thoughts; I took each into consideration, and I will admit that given how distraught she was at the beginning there was a strong temptation to take her out.
I’m glad I didn’t.
There are no shortages of times in anyone’s life when they don’t get their way- when I look at other children and especially the adults around me, it seems evident that the folks who learned early on that sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do are more adjusted to the real world.
Today my daughter was sad about going to preschool. Because she would miss her teachers when it was over. Because she would miss her friends when it was over. Because she would miss school itself when it was over. But most of all because we made sure it was a healthy environment and then encouraged her to hang in there, to learn how to socialize, to learn how to survive for three hours without her mommy or daddy, to learn to be herself, and she’s going to miss those opportunities.
Today I was sad about my daughter going to preschool. Because I would miss her while she was there. Because I would miss the three mornings a week to myself during the summer. But most of all because I am proud of how she has learned to hang in there, how she has learned how to socialize, and how she is learning about herself as a person independent of me. I'm seeing her first steps on the road to independence... and it's bittersweet.
End of School Picnic. Proud father. And a daughter wishing to be left alone.
**Namely showing up and paying tuition, extra credit for no bathroom accidents... hey, she's only three.