Our kids have been in the Chicago Park District's version of preschool since September. There are 16 kids. 8 boys and 8 girls - including another set of boy/girl twins.
Their teacher is Ms. Roxanne. I've heard about her since we moved into this house. She is a straight up legend and hero around these parts. I knew we were lucky landing in this class, but I didn't realize just how lucky until we got started. She is nothing short of a treasure. How she handles 16 kids by herself each day, I'll never understand, but I'm so grateful she does it with such grace and humor. And she allows me to text her sometimes and we see her walking around our neighborhood with her dogs and it's like a straight up celebrity sighting. I might squeal more than the kids. Maybe.
The bonds these 16 kids have forged is quite something.
Every day we get full run downs on what each kid said, did, brought, ate, didn't do, wore and if they sat in the quiet chair that day. I mean, a FULL rundown.
I am in love with all 16 of these kids. I've gotten to know them and their little personalities and they are each so sweet in their own ways. I've gotten to be friends with most of the moms and some dads and grandparents and caregivers and it's just such a lovely community of kind-hearted folks that I'm entirely grateful to have landed where we did this year.
I was at work one day when I received a group text from one of the moms including about 5 of the other moms. ME. INCLUDED IN A GROUP TEXT OF MOMS. What in the world? Who the hell do I think I am? Somebody's mama? I didn't even tear up at my desk or anything. NOPE.
I'm friends with a bunch of them on Facebook now and when I think about social media and all it's evils, I'm once again reminded of the wonderful parts. The real and true and lasting friendships I've made - many with people I've never met in real life (don't ever let anybody diminish the relationships that matter to you online, they are important) - and I'm so grateful. I'll get to watch all these kids grow up! I mean, if their mamas don't unfriend me by then....I can be a little much.
Back to the kids. We are leaving on vacation tomorrow and today was the last day before our kids will miss over a week of school.
First came the shock. Emmitt - their best little buddy didn't hear the news until today.
Then the acceptance. It hits hard and for little kids (and most of us adults amiright?) a week is a long long time.
Then the hope. Emmitt came running over and said, "My mom has your mom's phone number!"
My boy: "You know what that means! WE CAN FACETIME ON VACATION!"
I have never seen such joyful faces in all my life. We moms were just dead. DEAD. Honestly, how great are these preschoolers?
When I picked them up today, they had to say their goodbyes to their 14 friends and Ms. Roxanne and it was tough. There were so many hugs. And then another round of hugs. And then one more. And then two of the kids came over and told me something really really important that I couldn't understand at all but I totally acted like I did and it made me weepy and I was a mess because preschoolers are this incredible mix of little baby needing comfort and attention and yet also on the verge of being little kids and they are just full of wonder and excitement and joy and curiosity and I want to bottle it up forever.
As we walked out and they yelled goodbye just once more to Emmitt and Harper and gave one more hug, it felt like I had real little kids on my hands who knew what a big deal it was to have friends.
As we walked out, my kids were both were crying. We stopped in the stairway and all hugged really hard and long and cried together. I said, "you know what is so awesome about being sad when you miss someone? It means you care about them a whole lot and that they care about you. That is really special and we are really lucky to feel this way about people."
Feel all those wonderful hard feelings my darlings.
We all pulled it together and my girl said, "I'm so excited about vacation but I'm going to miss Harper and Emmitt so much". My boy said, "We can Facetime Emmitt", and my girl said, "Maybe we can talk to Harper's mommy and we can Facetime with her too."
How lucky we are to be alive right now.
When we got home and were getting ready for naps, I snuck up while they were taking turns going potty. One sits on the stool and chats while the other goes, don't you know.
They were talking about helping me pack for our trip.
Bubby: "We can help you pack!"
Bebe: "Let's see what do we need?"Bubby: "Baby Gum and Didas and books and iPads and snacks Lots of snacks, right mama?"
Bebe: "And decorations!"
Me: "Decorations for what?"
Bebe: "For all of us!"
Bubby: "Good Bebe! It's fun to have decorations."
So if you see a family in the airport tomorrow with decorations flowing from their luggage, it's not part of Mardi Gras, it's just our family. With our preschoolers who make everything around them more fantastical and full of joy. And a bit loud.
- When they go low, we go high - Thank you Michelle Obama for helping me parent my kids with hope and kindness
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