I work at a college, and a child-care center was opened a year ago on campus for children of students and employees. The center is state-of-the-art. The children do art projects, have a ton of toys, playgrounds, a water area and fresh, nutritious meals and snacks. The facility is spotless and well equipped with everything you can imagine. As I toured the facility last week, all of the children seemed happy, just as Lea was with the "baby whisperer."
I decided to enroll Lea into this child-care center on campus because she is ready for more structure and new challenges. Plus, its very convenient to be able to bring her to work with me every day. Typically it is pretty hard to get a spot and the center due to the ratio of teachers to students, but since the summer months are less crowded, we got in. We had a long list of supplies to get in preparation of Lea's first day, including jumbo crayons, glue sticks and construction paper.
|Lea with her big bag of supplies - 6/4/12|
We walked in, and were greeted with smiles. I signed Lea in and walked her down to her classroom. I could feel her little body tensing up as we neared the door. When I set her down in the classroom, she clung to my leg. Her teacher, Ms. Coffee, picked her up as Lea kept her eyes on me. She stuck that lip out and reached for me, and it broke my heart.
"She was a preemie..." I began to tell Ms. Coffee. I don't know why I felt the need to tell her this, considering how well Lea is doing developmentally. But I told her anyway. Maybe it was an unintentional ploy to score Lea a little more patience and love from her new teacher on her very first day.
As I gave Lea kisses and hugged her goodbye, I assured her that I would be back later. I hope she understood what I was saying. I waved bye to the kids, and one little girl even told me "buenos días." (The kids in Lea's class are learning Spanish.) I closed the door, and could see that pouty little face turn into a full-on, gut-wrenching cry.
My eyes exploded with tears as soon as that door shut. As I walked down that hallway and back across the front desk, the receptionist had a tissue waiting.
"She's gonna be fine, momma!" she assured me. I knew she was right.
|Lea playing, far left|
Its was such a good feeling to see her playing and smiling. She walked hand in hand with one of the teacher's aides, and kept close to a couple of the little girls in her class. I know in my heart this will be a great transition for her. I know she is a strong little girl and that she will be fine. I just need to come to grips that my baby won't be a baby forever, and we'll have lots of transitions like this in life. Its just another reminder to enjoy every second, because nothing stays the same for long.