(The pictures in this post are a "honey train" that Harper made by linking her corn popper and a chair with a hula hoop. The train part I understand; the honey part? Not so much.)
It is Thursday evening which means we successfully survived the first week of preschool. And using the word survived is probably a little dramatic because, after the gut-wrenching tearing myself away from Harper the first day, it was pretty much smooth sailing. The whole experience became easier much more quickly than I expected.
I had fairly low expectations for what I would accomplish while Harper attended school this week, figuring I would be distracted and have a difficult time concentrating on much of anything.
Today I got out to do a couple of errands and then sat down in a local coffee shop for a little quiet time. I had my notebook with me (an actual paper notebook, not a notebook computer*) and I sat down to write a little which I obviously enjoy and getting to do it uninterrupted in the light of day is a real treat. I plan to give myself one of the school mornings each week to either read or write with a good cup of (decaf) coffee; at least until the baby comes because then, let's face it, I'll be lucky to get my hair brushed every day.
Writing, for me, has lots of therapeutic benefits and today, as I was working through all my feelings about Harper being in school, I kept getting all choked up. Of the two of us, I am by far having the more difficult time with the transition to preschool.
Sending Harper off to school has made me realize, in a completely new way, how little idea parents have about what goes on in school all day long. When I was a teacher I tried to communicate with the parents regularly. We had a newsletter every week. I sent lots of notes home (mostly about good/celebratory things and not just when there was a problem) and even tried to touch base by phone every so often. The last school I taught at had mandatory conferences three times a year and was a very open place in general so I saw many of the parents on a daily or at least weekly basis. And yet. . . so much happens in the course of a school day that I could never possibly communicate all of it, especially when you consider both the social and educational aspects of what is going on. Harper is only at school for two and a half hours and I feel like trying to figure out her day is akin to putting together a puzzle with only one-third of the pieces present.
I wouldn't have the first idea what to think about it if she were either less willing or less able to verbalize what goes on at school.
I always figured there would come a time when I didn't know every intimate detail of Harper's life. However I wasn't expecting it to hit until age thirteen or even adulthood. The idea that, from this point on, there will always be a part of Harper's life that is seperate from me made me so sad. I know that is what is supposed to happen eventually, from the moment they are born, parenting is about helping your children learn how to be apart from you.
It's just I really wasn't prepared for it to be this difficult.
*I would love to have a notebook computer, so if anyone out there wants to, um, sponsor my non-existent professional writing career by gifting one this way, by all means. . . Because I'm really quite certain the only thing standing between me and the piles of money I could make writing professionally is some sort of portable computer. Lack of talent? Lack of time? These are all issues that I'm pretty sure can be immediately rectified by a keyboard in a pretty package made by Apple. Right?