Tonight I attended my eighth and final 4/5-year-old preschool program. 8? you might be saying? I know, I don't have 8 kids, though it often feels like it/sounds like it/smells like it/costs like it. No, we have just five kiddos, but the youngest three all have late summer birthdays and we decided it would serve them all well to repeat 4/5 preschool to give them a little age before advancing to kindergarten. We haven't been sorry once we made this decision.
Anyway, back to tonight. Boo to the hoo, sniff sniff. I didn't cry or get emotional, but it was an end of a long era. We have had a child in preschool for 12 years, and next year. . . we won't. I know, there are lots of "lasts" when you have children. But we kept having kids for so many years that all these "lasts" have been put off for quite some time.
Over the years, the preschool programs have changed and evolved. I can't remember everything about each one, but we have pictures of all them. Pictures of the kids singing and dancing, pictures with their friends, some of whom remain close friends even in to their teen years, family pictures providing a snapshot of life at that moment.
And so tonight, I was reminiscing a bit about all our past preschool programs ( I know - ME reminiscing? I'm sure you're shocked!). I recall my eldest daughter's program. . .she was a flower, flanked by two little ones she is still friends with. I was very pregnant with our third child, unaware that I would soon be going into early labor with him. Another year, I attended a program while pregnant with my fourth child, just before my husband and I went away on a trip, sans children. My emotions were high, and I remember being very teary knowing my departure was imminent. My youngest son was the big, bad wolf in the three little pigs skit, and he was hilarious. His energy made us all laugh, especially when he burned his bottom on the fire and ran around the gym.
So many memories, so many years. I know there are many, many lasts on the horizon, and I will probably drive my husband and children crazy pointing them all out. But parenting a preschooler has been a foundation around here for a long time, and that season is coming to a close. I'm not sure I ever could have truly envisioned this day. Life is good - there is much on the horizon for all my children, including this little girl on the cusp of kindergarten. But this mamma's heart aches a bit for what we are leaving behind.