The manila envelope arrived in our mail earlier this week. After a quick glance at the return address, I knew exactly what it was and what it meant. I didn’t even bother to wait until I got home to open the packet. I opened in the parking lot of a local store. I glanced through the papers and saw the words:“We’re happy to let you know that Reagan has been accepted into the Early Childhood Program.”
And my heart sank. I was in no way prepared for that answer.
When we turned in the paperwork to get Reagan registered for preschool, we were told that the program was full and there was little hope that Reagan would get to attend the program. While I cautioned Reagan against getting excited for school, I realized that I was actually happy to have an extra year with Reagan at home. I’d even started to research some preschool curriculum that we could tackle at home. Nothing extreme or intense, but enough that Reagan would have the same basics she’d have learned at school. I was looking forward to having it just be Reagan and Ashlynn at home with me this year.
So this news blindsided me.
When I got back home, I waved the manila packet at Jon. “She got in,” I told him. He smiled in triumph and when we told Reagan, she erupted into cheers. She ran downstairs screaming, “Devyn, Devyn! I get to go school with you! I get to go to school!” And we laughed at her excitement.
But later, once the Littles were all tucked into bed and Jon and I were sitting on the couch together, I let the sadness back in and it settled around my heart. As I reflected on the new change of plans, tears gathered in my eyes and spilled over my cheeks. I hastily wiped them away, as surprised by them as Jon was. I hadn’t reacted this way when Devyn and Hudson went to preschool. Sure I was misty-eyed, sad that they were ready for this new milestone, but I was always excited for them.
I haven’t felt this intense need to say no before. I haven’t felt this deep desire to keep her home, just one more year. Oh, the temptation!
I just wish I understood where these feelings were coming from… Could it be that I’ve been a stay-at-home-mom most of Reagan’s life, and I wasn’t with Devyn or Hudson? Could it be that we’re entering a new era with 75% of our Littles in school? Could it be that we’ve taken two big steps toward a new phase, one that brings us out of the “young” family category? I’m guessing it’s a mixture of all of them. I have a post brewing about what its like stepping over that line from young family to a family with school-aged children.
But for tonight, this post is about letting go of Reagan for 4 days a week, three hours a day. Its about letting her grow a bit more independent and feel like one of the big kids. Its about letting another piece of my heart walk into the big, wide world, and becoming ok with it. Because right now, I’m not ok with it. Not even a little. I want my Irish Lass at home with me…
But its not about me, as I often remind myself; its what is best for them. And this is what’s best for Miss Rea. I’m just going to miss her like crazy!