by Allyson Haas
While everybody is busy posting the requisite “first day of school photos”, wondering where the time has gone and woefully shedding tears, I’m over here feeling like the Worst Mom on Earth. Because I simply CANNOT WAIT for school to start. Not that I’m counting, but there are exactly 5 days, 11 hours and 32 seconds until I can leave my wonderfully amazing, adorable, spirited child in the very capable hands of the teachers at his magical wonderland of a preschool.
For those who don’t follow my posts and/or can’t tell from the tone of this one, when Caleb was born, I put my corporate job to pasture and set out for the seemingly greener fields of being a Stay At Home Mom. Did I mention that I have no consistent sitter or family within a 3000-mile radius? (Insert witch-like guffaw here).
Don’t get my wrong; I’ve absolutely LOVED my time at home with C. I was thrilled to have been there for all of the firsts, and elated to have had the chance to experience the joys of life again through his eyes. It's been amazing to exercise the creativity that laid dormant throughout my tenure in corporate America. I made C’s baby food, we did craft projects, I took him on daily excursions. We did something wonderful every day: music classes, movement classes, trips to museums, playgrounds, play dates, restaurants, Disneyland. We traveled. We jumped in puddles. We climbed rocks, We painted rocks. We painted with ice. We made edible finger paint. We put together puzzles. We potty trained.
I set my sights on teaching him the alphabet by making each week a certain letter around which the week’s activities would center.
For the week of A, we went to the Santa Monica Airport and watched the Airplanes take off and land. We went Apple picking and made homemade Applesauce.
For the week of B we went to the Beach, picked Blueberries and watched the horses on the farm with their Bales of hay.
The week of S we learned about Shadows and how they do everything we do by seeing them as we climbed a mountain. That also taught us about Sun and Shade.
We even revisited some of his favorite letters; just this past week we went back to the Planetarium so he could see, what he calls “the faces of the moon.” We went to the water show there, had lunch and came home and read all about the stars and the solar system. And then we drew the solar system on his chalkboard wall. He will happily tell you how many planets there are, what their names are, whether they are hot or cold and even on which one he lives. He can count to 100, knows all of his letters and is starting not only to spell, but also to sound words out and can easily express how he is feeling. I’m not telling you all of this to brag about my child, I’m simply trying to express that we have done quite a bit these past three years, and I know exactly where the time went. It was spent in laughter, love and many, many times, tears. (Hey, I never claimed doing any of the above was easy).
So as I look (very) forward to the start of this next adventure, I do so knowing that I gave him an amazing foundation. He knows he is loved, he knows his worth (and even that of the penny, nickel, dime and quarter). By no means am I saying, “my job here is done” and passing him along to the teachers, nor am I implying that any mother who hasn’t stayed home hasn’t enjoyed all of these moments or given their child these gifts. I am simply saying I AM READY for him (and me?!) to be free. Free to Explore. To Learn. To Discover. To Grow.
And when I meet him on the farewell side of the school’s Kissing Window (an amazing ritual wherein the child stays indoors, opens the window and says a specially crafted goodbye with their parent who is on the outside of the window), Caleb knows that his only responsibility (aside from being nice to all the kids) is to, as we say each day, “have the MOST fun you can possibly have.”
I think I may also do so with cocktail in hand, toasting myself for making it to this milestone.
Feel free to join me with this recipe I’m currently sipping on.
adapted from Epicurious
¼ cup fresh grapefruit juice
1 Tblsp. fresh lime juice
raw cane sugar (optional)
¼ cup tequila
¼ club soda (optional)
Rub the rim of a glass with the cut lime. Dust with sugar or salt (depending on your flavor profile preference - I prefer sweet).
Combine grapefruit juice, lime juice and sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved.
Stir in tequila.
If you like things spicy (and I do) add some diced jalapeno. Mix vigorously (I like my drinks shaken, not stirred). Pour over ice and consume immediately or if you like this bubbly, top with club soda and let the consumption commence.
This cocktail is an excellent accompaniment to those first day of preschool tears - whether they be from joy or despair.