Last week, my Beautiful Boy attend his last, ever day at Pre-School. My prediction was that it was going to be a happy affair, and it was, but I was unprepared for just how emotional it would be...
Orlando has been excitedly telling all that will listen that he was going off to 'Big School' next year. He understood what a significant right of passage this was. He bravely went to his kindergarten orientation. He was excited, nervous and full of anticipation. The morning went reasonably well, but Orlando's perception of 'Big School' seemed to change. Not from anything that had happened there, but by the fact that it all became very real that Pre-School was going to come to an end.
We had a week or two of "I don't want to go to Big School" when I realised what was happening. I asked him ... "Is it that you don't want to go to Big School or is it that you don't want to leave Pre-School?" his answer told all. "I don't want to leave George (best friend going to different school), and I don't want to leave Sam and the teachers, and there wont be the 'big shovel' at school and I didn't see any scooters and ..." the list went on.
Orlando has had 3 very beautiful years at an Independent Pre-School with an amazing philosophy.
I remember 3 years ago, my 'big' boy was ready for his first day at Pre-School. He was so ready for something more than home was offering. He had a stimulating week, but he wanted his own experiences, that he could come home and tell me about. His own friends and to be part of a bigger community.
3 years later, Orlando is deeply ingrained in this community and cherishes every day he spends there. He feels safe, nurtured, stimulated and an important teacher of the 'little' kids. He has great friends, wonderful relationships with the teachers and feels successful because he can 'do' most things there.
We have had a number of chats in the last week about the importance of moving on to new challenges and appreciating the experiences you have had, while being open to new ones. We have stressed the fact that, as you become an 'expert' at something, and have taught it to someone else it is time to move forward. That goodbyes can be hard, but that is because you heart has lots of love for what you are saying goodbye to.
We asked Orlando to come to a special dinner with us to celebrate his achievement in finishing Pre-School and have been talking with great excitement about the new adventures and possibilities ahead.
His last day came and I could see he was feeling a little internal as we arrived. He happily got involved and went about his day. At pick up time, he collected his bag and hovered a little. I reminded him that this was the time to say goodbye and he ran to each of his teachers and gave them a heartfelt squeeze. He then found his good friend and gave him one of the most open-hearted, loving cuddles I have seen. He was then satisfied, took a deep breath (as if taking it all in for the last time) and was ready to go.
I on the other hand, who had thought I would be cool and calm (these are also my work colleagues and Matilda is coming to Pre-School next year) was a blubbering mess! I was looking at my big boy and seeing what an amazing journey he has been on. How far he has come and what a beautiful and strong foundation he has had to build his future educational experiences from.
I am so greatful and thankful to his Pre-School for taking my baby and giving me back a thoughtful, inquisitive and adventrous boy.