Well, I turned in my key today. It's been such an important key to me, for all it's given me in the past two years - access, togetherness, a feeling of importance and belonging, personal growth and the ability to watch my amazing little boy grow at the same time. It's a strange feeling not to have it anymore, to close the book on that phase of our lives, but these are feelings I've definitely felt in the past; uncertainty, insecurity, sadness - it's hard to let go and move on sometimes. I'm just glad my son doesn't share these feelings. Thankfully he seems to be feeling the other side of the spectrum - familiar and confident in his friendships, optimistic, excited for the future and a new school.
The key I turned in was my keycard for Sunny Hill Preschool. I can't believe our two-year journey has come to an end, for Quinn and I. When I accepted the keycard two years ago, it was at the beginning of Quinn's preschool experience - we were in a new town (well, for just over a year), I had 10 month old twins that were running me ragged (in a mostly good way), I was trying hard to make friends for our family and for myself, trying to come to terms with the idea of how to let my little boy move forward without me always by his side. It was like I was the one starting a new school - would they like me?, what if I said the wrong thing?, do I look acceptable (as in, with two babies hanging from my body, droll on my ripped clothes, speed walking after my running-ahead boy)?... I tried hard not to reflect these insecurities outwardly, so that Quinn wouldn't pick up on them, and he was mostly fine with the transition; a little clinginess the first couple weeks, but so excited to be going to school and making new friends and playing with all the wonderful things in his big and bright classroom.
I've enjoyed being involved in Quinn's classrooms both years - interacting with his classmates, meeting the parents at drop-off and pick-up, working with his teachers, being inside those walls with their bustle and promise and joy, watching Quinn laugh and learn and experience so many things, even see his sisters become less shy with people and explore certain areas of the classroom while dropping their brother off. I became involved in the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) that first year, so that I could stay involved in his schooling despite being quite distracted in general (having infant twins can do that... I'm still wondering when I'll come out of it!) and try to find my place in the community, to have a voice and, quite honestly, not be so damn shy. I had great ideas, I tried to share, I felt like I got squeezed out of some things, I volunteered for things, then I stopped getting "invited" to meetings, but was really happy to find out this year that I hadn't actually been disinvited, but that the PTO last year had apparently disbanded. I tried the PTO again this year, and had great success - I was in charge of the school library, I wrote pieces for the school newsletter, I volunteered and contributed to planning so many school events and charity drives, I coordinated playdates, became Room Parent and truly thrived on it, I got the entire enrollment of parents/children together to buy a Keurif coffee machine and assessories for the school at the holidays, I attended every PTO meeting and spoke up all the time. It was so nice to be heard, to be involved, to feel valued, and to feel like I was helping and making a difference... I guess I'm having a hard time letting that go, knowing I'll have to start over, and there won't be a similar drop-off/pick-up oppportunity to meet other parents at and interact with Quinn's classmates. I know I'll have to put forth a major effort and push myself not to fall into the background, but hopefully I will be able to tackle that.
It's definitely scary to think about what next year will hold, and to only think about it when I have downtime, because I don't want Quinn to feel anxious about the future. I want him to retain his innocence and his excitement for going to kindergarten, and just let me do the worrying about the new school, the possibility of rude kids, riding the bus, etc... My part will still be to get involved, so I can keep tabs on this new phase that seems out of reach right now, to benefit my son first and foremost, but also to keep myself growing, too. I know I have a lot to offer, and I have a good idea every now and then, so hopefully I can put myself in a position to share those. The scary part is always putting myself out there, but hopefully if I can do it, then Quinn won't even think twice about doing it himself. Because I know he has so much to offer, too, and anyone would be lucky to have him as a friend.
We can only pause for a moment to say "good-bye" to his preschool years, because I have to be ever vigiliant of what lies ahead, for all my children, but it's nice to reflect on the progress and growth that we both had through Sunny Hill over the past two years. Even though I have to turn in my key, I hope I can retain those feelings of confidence and self-worth, and build upon them as we embark on Quinn's elementary school years. Worst case, Sunny Hill, I'll be taking that keycard back in another year and a half when my twin girls will be unleashed into your halls as they start their preschool experience - hope the world is ready for that!