This September was a busy month. It was back to school for both of you, a 6th birthday for one of you and the beginning of my fourth year of "Letters". Throw in all the emotions and preparations for those things and you've got yourself quite the whirly rig.
Grey, this fall you returned to Columbus Preschool in the 3's program five mornings a week, while Cash, you made the big move to Manhattan Country School as a kindergartener. It's all new for you this year after being at Columbus for four years, so lots of anticipation. Below are the snapshots I took outside of our apartment on your respective "first days".
Grey, yours involved a short morning circle followed by an activity with half your class and since Daddy was able to come you were extra happy. To get to know everyone's names, the teachers started singing, "Bumblebee Bumblebee, Won't you say your name for me?" and when it was your turn to say your name you went silent, curling shyly against Daddy's chest. Rather adorable for us grownups watching. Then the next day you made sure to tell me that you said your name in front of all your "new friends".
Cash, your first "meet-and-greet" at Manhattan Country School went really well. I think it was because I was with you those 30 minutes you saw your classroom and met your new teacher and a couple of classmates. The photo above was taken around the block from the school and your smile is dazzling. It was the next morning that was an emotional wrecking ball. Parents were told to make drop off as brief as possible - in other words, cut the cord - and you not only knew this but felt it deeply, burying yourself under my bedcovers pleading to not have to go. Through the most gut wrenching sobs you kept telling me how scared you were and that your stomach was hurting. You cried on the subway and during our walk to the school, pulling your shirt up over your face so nobody could see. There was no amount of assurance or explaining that was any comfort to you. You were completely terrified and though I didn't let on, my heart was in a million pieces.
All I could do was give you a tool to help you cope. I told you that when you felt really sad you could pull your teacher aside and let her know. That she would be understanding and surely has dealt with other children who have felt like you. You reluctantly agreed. When I picked you up at the end of the day, I asked if you talked with your teacher and you told me you didn't have to. "As the morning went along I wasn't sad anymore Mommy. I mean, I was a tiny bit sad when you first left but then I was okay." And there you have it my love. You made it through your first terrifying transition with the bravery of a thousand soldiers.
Later that evening I received a touching email from your teacher Anna. She told me she that a few of you were sitting at the playdough table talking about having more than one feeling at a time (namely nervousness and excitement). She said that you shared how you'd been crying so much that morning and were scared to come to a new school but that you were no longer worried. I was so happy to learn you were one of the first to self-reflect and share your feelings with the group, which I find to be quite brave - especially since during our walk to school you didn't want anyone to see that you were upset.
Grey, you love Cash's school so much I think you'd rather be going there. And hopefully you will be next year. Every day you get so excited to go pick up Cash, peeking inside his classroom and doing the happy dance until they open the door for the parents. I doubt you will have any fears going there next year since by then you will be so familiar with the place.
We are in our third week of school now and I have to say you both have done a wonderful job transitioning into your new classrooms. There was the second day Cash, when you said, "I'm going to be sad because I have to go a full day without you Mommy." You really got me with that one. I swear, it's amazing how much love and gratitude is within that little heart of yours.
In fact, just the other day we stayed out past your bedtime for a sundowner with friends which you were so excited about. As the sun was setting you ran over to make sure I saw it, pointing toward the horizon. "Isn't it beautiful Mommy?! This is the best night ever!" A fellow Mom overheard this and said, "Awww, I wish my kids said things like that! Instead of always complaining and saying, 'I'm bored.'"
There was also the time recently when I was watching some movie while you were coloring and a sentimental song started playing. Without looking up from coloring you said, "Mommy, I think I'm going to cry." "Why?" I asked. "Because the music is making me feel something. It's making me sad." Your heart felt the sadness in the song; the music quite literally moved you to tears. Though I guess I shouldn't be surprised since you have always been of the empathic, romantic sort. You observe the beautiful and the sad; you see it and you feel it. And I pray you always will.
We just celebrated your sixth birthday and one of the first things you said to me was, "I know you might be a little sad Mom, because I'm six now, but don't worry, even when I'm older and if I'm mean to you, it doesn't mean I don't love you. I'll always love you."
And I'll always love you son. Welcome to SIX. You'd better rock it!
Grey & Cash - you boys are the chambers of my heart and I am so proud of the fortitude with which you tackled your new beginnings this month.
I love you both to the galaxy and back.
Always & forever,