Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Don't Cry Because It's Over, Smile Because It Happened

Maybe it's because I'm more prone to tears and extreme emotion these days, or maybe it's because I'm me...but I have been so melancholy for about a month or longer.  I cannot believe that Rob's pre-school experience is coming to an end.

There is a famous Dr. Seuss quote that says "Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened."  I have seen this quote used in true times of sadness like funerals, and also in more sentimental times like graduations and major life changes.  I think it perfectly applies to the Morris life right now.

"Smile because it happened"-- I am definitely smiling.  Rob had just turned 4 and I had just started working for my mom instead of "the real world".  Caroline was 9 months old and knew nothing more than being near me at all times of the day.  Rob had been going to Miss Beth's house as a source of daycare since he was 6 months old.  Miss Beth's was all he knew, but I knew there was so much more out there.  So I sent my child to "big school", hoping he would grow and blossom. (It's funny to think of how my perspective has changed from then to now.)  I felt sad at the thought of leaving Miss Beth's nest, but it was nothing compared to the blues I have now.
Rob on his FIRST 1st Day of Pre-School
I was so thrilled at what I then deemed progress Rob made in a very little time.  He was making friends, he was learning his letters and numbers; he wrote his name; he raised his hand when he needed to say something; and he had routines, dress codes, and real consequences for rules being broken.  He was so proud of himself.  And his warranted pride put a huge smile on Bobby's and my faces. 
Nevertheless, around that December of last year we started hearing talk of Kindergarten.  There are certain traits that Kindergartners must possess and academia is only a partial list.  I don't regret treating Rob like my baby boy.  Bobby may joke that I have "ruined" him sometimes because he is tender-hearted and cautious.  But Rob is Rob.  Those friends he made in Ms Tania's class were all leaders and Rob was definitely the follower.  He would follow them right to trouble.  He had a hard time remembering that "raise-your-hand" lesson because all he'd ever known was a world that revolved around his every need.  Oh, and then there's the fact that our current school system starts so early he'd still be 4 for almost a month after starting Kindergarten.  So we made the decision to retain him.

"Smile because it happened"--yep.  I have been smiling all year this year.  Retaining Rob and repeating 4K was a great decision for us.  Rob has become a leader.  His self confidence has deepened but has also been validated by the ability to make good choices.  He is the leader in his classroom, but he accepts that responsibility and knows that he has to model manners, generosity, and honesty.
Rob on his LAST 1st Day of Pre-School
We were lucky to have not just Ms. Tania last year, but also Ms. Dana this year...both teachers have been great!  Their warmth, Christianity, and dash of spunk have mixed well to bring out only the best in Rob. 

"Don't cry because it's over"--At one point this year Rob said to me that he wanted to do the 4's just one more time.  I laughed and told him that he had to move on to Kindergarten.  When Kindergarten was a year away or 6 months away it was this great mecca of progress that we anticipated.  Now it is just 2 1/2 months away and there is no more pre-school to distract us from the inevitable.  We have had the best experience possible at Prince of Peace.  So good that it's blocking my ability to imagine loving any school as much.

I have been a mess lately.  I know it may be my raging hormones (remember I just entered my 3rd trimester of pregnancy).  I cried the other night at our great, big, local public school meeting for upcoming Kindergartners.  Currently Rob is in one of three classes with a total of 40 students.  This fall he will be in one of 14 classes with a total of 280+ students.  I feel like I am throwing him into the middle of the ocean with no lifeboat in sight.  Luckily we live in a great area with a fabulous school system.  But try telling that to my sadness.

Yesterday and today I cried in carpool.  Hard.  Crocodile tears.  Tomorrow is graduation and even though it's being held in our church I'm considering large dark sunglasses as a fashion statement.  My first born is no longer my baby by any stretch of the imagination.  I am so proud of him!  But please allow me a couple more days to be crazy.

This pre-school experience may be over but I know in my heart it's making way for some real, true progress to begin.  Rob is so hungry for knowledge and culture.  Forgive me, Dr. Seuss.  I am crying right now because it's over.  But I am trying to remind myself to smile because the future is about to really transform my son into the young man he is destined to become.

Stay tuned for a Graduation post tomorrow...

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