At Kiddie Kollege Preschool, the children learn a prayer that begins with that line.
Before I had children, I was sentimental. Once I had them, I began my descent into a puddle of my own tears. I suddenly understood the “stay little” wish. I counted my blessings that they were healthy and growing, but the growing happened at warp speed!
When Rafe, my firstborn, went to preschool, I was the nervous, self-conscious mother. His Kiddie Kollege experience was wonderful for him, but I couldn’t relax. Was I doing everything right? (Um, no!) Was I sending the right snack? Was he on track with learning? (Um, yes, thanks to director/teacher Ginger Brooks and Sonya Walls -love you!) First child syndrome, right?
Sophie, my middle child, is finishing her last year of preschool tomorrow. Mrs. Brooks has become like family to us. We love her dearly. The other teacher, Emily Edwards, is so precious and also has a God-given heart for nurturing and teaching them. We’ve come to love her too, in just a year of knowing her. We had the opportunity to know and love Leigh Ann Thomas as a Kiddie Kollege teacher too.
I’m having a really tough time with this whole Sophie-being-finished-with-Kiddie-Kollege. I didn’t have such a difficult time with Rafe. Not because I love him less, I just didn’t GET IT. I didn’t truly grasp the concept that when kindergarten begins, they’re not really mine anymore. I don’t get to snuggle on the couch and watch Sesame Street. I don’t get to feed them lunch and tuck them into their little beds in the afternoons. Whoever said, “The days are long but the years are short,” was NOT joking.
I’ve been blessed with a job that allows me to work from home. It makes for some wild days, because aside from two hours a week, I’ve always had at least one of the littles home with me. Bryce greets the crew at Huntsville Event Magazine on Skype every Monday morning during our production meeting. So don’t get me wrong. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns at home with my kids all day. It’s messy and loud and there’s yelling and tears, and that’s just me! But through the chaos (and there’s PLENTY of chaos) of, “Don’t touch that,” and, “PLEASE, PLEASE STOP WHINING!” and, “Ok, I’m gonna be on the phone for about five minutes, please don’t do anything crazy,” while someone inevitably follows me around sobbing at top volume, I’ve enjoyed being at home, watching them grow and hearing their comedic pronouncements.
When big school starts, someone else spends the entire day with my babies: teachers who will be kind, or not – they’re human after all (we've never had this experience, for the record,) children who will say things that will hurt them, situations when they’ll feel left out and less than and homesick. Such is the nature of life. They can’t grow into human beings who can love, nurture and serve others without these experiences, but it still hurts – them and me!
This mama’s heart aches at sending her little blue-eyed girl with the wedge haircut and the giant hair bow to kindergarten in the fall. She's frankly not too thrilled about it either. She's mourning her last day at Kiddie Kollege. I KNOW I'll see her dimpled cheeks elongate and lose their baby plumpness. With Rafe it was such a surprise, the face changing, but now I KNOW. My heart cracked a little when we dropped him off at kindergarten. I was relieved (for him) and admittedly sad that he didn’t ask for us to stay longer, rather, he was excited to begin a new adventure. But now I KNOW. They lose their tiny perfect baby-teeth and the enormous replacements change their appearance, packing them up for the road to adulthood much too soon. The sorrow is different this time, because Rafe was the first one and I didn't know how drastic it would be until he was in kindergarten. I KNOW she’s leaving that sweet, baby world of innocence. Because I’ve already lost Rafe to the rigors of big school, I get it now.
I can’t even contemplate when Bryce, my baby bird, will fly the preschool coop, have his last Kiddie Kollege program and repeat those oh-so-final words: “In years to come, you’ll hear from us, and be amazed at our knowledge. Just remember where it all began, was here at Kiddie Kollege.”
Y’all! I realize I sound like a crazy person – and hey, if the shoe fits… This is just preschool! The puddle of tears will drown me by the time they graduate high school and I have to contemplate them MOVING AWAY!
Thank you Ginger Brooks for making Kiddie Kollege “the world so sweet.” I wish all their future teachers could love them as much as you have and do – and Rafe’s teachers have been precious ones who loved him,(Melissa Bartlett, Amy Beck, Amy Graves and Anna Leigh Battles) with no exceptions! But I’m so thankful that all my babies had the treasured opportunity to spend some of their first school mornings with you, learning facts and prayers and songs, finding out how to function in a classroom, learning discipline and most of all, being loved by people who share the love of Christ in their vocation every day. I thank God for you and for Mrs. Emily, and for the fact that Rafe, Sophie and Bryce’s journeys all began at Kiddie Kollege.