Today was Anders’ very last day of preschool. I can’t even comprehend how we arrived at this day. It’s like I dropped a 6-week-old newborn off at daycare this morning and returned to retrieve a full grown boy in the afternoon, a red-faced, sweaty boy with shoes that are constantly untied, and tears in his eyes. I stopped to watch him through window before stepping outside where he was playing with friends. He was squatting in the dirt, drawing pictures with a rock, and talking animatedly. I wondered what he was saying and then he looked up and spotted me.
“Hi, Mom,” he said. He made no move to run to me as he does on most days.
“Hi, Anders. Are you ready?” I asked.
“No. Can I stay?” He looked at his friends still squatting in the dirt at his feet.
“No. It’s time to go, bud. Tell your friends good-bye.”
After he hugged each of his three best buddies (a very uncharacteristic move for him), I had to gently pull him from the playground and over to his cubby where we collected all of his belongings for the last time.
As we walked through the school, making our way to the exit, we were stopped half a dozen times by teachers wishing him well. “Good luck in Kindergarten, Anders!” They called. “You’ll do great.”
Finally, we emerged into the warm afternoon sunlight, arms full of finger paintings and papers. It reminded me of an afternoon three months prior when I left my office carrying the contents of my former desk.
Both moments held as much promise as sorrow. Both were the beginning of a journey.