Friday, September 6, 2013

Off to School

Dear Delilah,

Tuesday was your first day at preschool. It was a day of mixed emotions for all of us! I think we were all a little nervous, a little excited, and a little unsure of what to expect! When we woke up that morning and started to make our way downstairs, you grabbed my hand and stopped me, and asked excitedly, "Can you take me down on our butts?" In that moment, it hit me just how much you've grown and changed, and just much of that growth and change has happened in a few short months.

See, these days, you master our steep, narrow stairs all by yourself, with only the railing to help you. It wasn't long ago that you refused to even attempt them, needing to be carried down instead. So recently, in fact, that it was just after your brother was born that 'taking you down our butts' became a solution to your inability to navigate the stairs yourself, and my inability to carry you while recovering from a surgical birth. So each morning, you'd climb onto my lap, and slowly, we'd make our way down, one step at a time, as I tried to distribute the effort between my legs and my arm, clinging to the railing much the same way you do now.

So on Tuesday, a morning when I was full of emotion about how quickly my baby girl is growing up, I happily plopped down on that top step, pulled you onto my lap, and snuggled and giggled with you the whole way down, one step at a time. I fought back tears (the first of many times that day) as I remembered back to how much more you relied on me a few months ago, reminiscing about you as my baby, but so proud of the independent, empathetic, funny, smart little girl you've grown into.

Our morning was calm and productive. We took a nice walk to the store to pick out your inside shoes to keep at school, we drew pictures, we played on the floor with your brother. We ate lunch, then you dressed yourself in your new outfit, pants on backwards on the first try. Grandma arrived to stay with Canon while we headed off to fetch your father from work to accompany us for that highly anticipated first drop off.

You've got a lot of words for your emotions now, so you were able to articulate that you were feeling nervous and shy. That you were excited for school, but wanted us to stay there too. We affirmed that those were all normal feelings to have, and reassured you that your classmates would be feeling some of those same things.

When we arrived at the school, you paused to say hi to some students who were playing outside. We made our way up toward your classroom, and you remembered where your cubby was and where to place the little stick with your name on it to indicate your attendance. You greeted your teachers and set to work with some playdough, and seemed to settle in just fine, until it was time for us to say Goodbye. You had a hard time with us leaving, but after we were gone, your teachers were able to help you calm down, and by the time we returned an hour later to pick you up, you were happy and proud to show us around your classroom.

Drop off on the second day was similarly difficult, and I shed a few tears myself after I turned the corner, leaving you crying in the arms of your teacher. You adjusted much more quickly that day and after just a couple of minutes, thoroughly enjoyed your time in the classroom. Yesterday, you were so excited about eating your lunch at school for the first time that you hardly even noticed I was leaving, and on your first full afternoon at school, had a great day with very few bumps! I arrived home from work to you presenting me with a necklace you'd made for me, something I will keep as a memento of this important transition in our lives.

The past few days, you've been much more snuggly and affectionate, in addition to being a bit more tired and cranky. You've always been quick to adapt to new situations and people, so your father and I have been caught off-guard and feeling ill-prepared to support you through this adjustment. As much as I wish things had gone smoother the first couple of days, I can't help but feel relieved that my baby girl still needs me to hold her, to comfort her, to encourage her, and, once in a while, to take her down the stairs on our butts.

I love you so much, and am so proud of how brave you've been, and how much you've learned in just a few short days at your new school.




  1. That post was so sweet and I can totally relate. When my daughter started preschool she had a hard time letting go too but after time she got better. She actually started Kindergarten this year and it was a piece of cake for both of us to let go, I was the only one who shed a few tear! She was so ready to go and has had a great first month at school.

  2. Oh and the pics on this post are so sweet and your daughter is adorable!

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