Thursday, September 06, 2007

Ready, Set, Fly.

Wednesday was Mitchell's first day of his last year of preschool. You would think that after two and a half years of this, it would just be another day for me. Not at all. This year, things are so different.

So glaringly different.

We started at ten and counted down the number of sleeps to go until school began. Every morning, his first words usually centered around "Only ___ more sleeps to go until school!" To say he was ready to go would be a dramatic understatement.

Tuesday afternoon we went shopping for some things at Target. It was a big deal for Mitchell and he took his selection of a new backpack very seriously. I was very surprised that he chose Spider Man, but it all made sense once I realized that he just hadn't seen the Thomas backpacks yet. Let's just say that Spider Man's time in the spotlight was extremely short lived.

I have never seen him more interested in my grocery shopping. He was acutely aware of which snacks, fruit and drinks I was selecting and enthusiastically congratulated me each time I made what he considered to be a good choice. I believe that the full-sized yogurt (we usually get the little snack size) was what drew the most excitement.

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He even helped me pick a new shirt to wear to school for his first day. When we finally found one that we both agreed was great, he said "Oh, I think my teacher's going to love it!"

Funny, I was just thinking to myself that she's going to love him.

For the first time ever, Mitchell actually helped me pack his lunch. It was a very serious task for him, and he wanted to make sure that everything was placed just so in his little insulated Thomas lunch bag. This made me laugh because after he so carefully zipped it close, he quickly crammed it into the fruit drawer, most likely squishing everything he'd just lovingly set inside. Once it was in the fridge he matter of factly stated "Well, that's done."

That morning, the first words out of his mouth were "Is it school today? Do I get to go?" When I told him that yes, it was finally time for his first day of school, he started jumping around our bedroom with his arms in the air singing "Yay, yay, yay! It's time for school!" He didn't even fight me at all when I wet and combed his hair. He actually insisted that the top snap be fastened on his new shirt. He was as interested in having a neat appearance as I was. Amazing.

As we headed out the door to the garage, Mitchell asked if we had to hurry. I said that we would be okay since we weren't running late, but we weren't exactly early either. His response was just so, well, "Mitchell" of him.

He said, "That means we're right on time, just like Thomas!" Only Mitchell could bring it all back around to good ol' Thomas.

I herded the kids over to the front yard for the obligatory first day of school pictures. When Mitchell was putting his backpack on, Miss G positively lost her mind about not having a backpack of her own. Since he is such a sweet big brother, Mitchell quickly disappeared inside and returned with his old bumblebee backpack. It was sort of a passing of the torch, right there by the milkbox. I helped her put the bee on her back and she giggled with glee. Mitchell said "I think she likes it!" He didn't even complain when she wanted to get in on the photo session.

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He really enjoyed hamming it up for the camera, making sure to hold his lunchbox up in prime viewing range. After a few quick snaps of the camera, we piled into the van and headed off to school. I lost count of how many times he yelled "Yay," "Yippee," and "Woohoo" on the way over.

After I took one last picture in front of the school, he took off running for the door and I was struck by what a different boy I was bringing to preschool. Last year, he was a complete mess. We were both in tears and a teacher had to literally peel him off of me when it was time for me to leave. I remember children saying "Hi, Mitchell" to the huddled little lump hiding behind my legs.

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This year, he flung the door open and before I even saw him disappear inside, I heard him yell, "Zach! How are ya, baby?" (Yes, that's a direct quote.) I had to track him down for a picture with Zach and a quick goodbye hug as he was excitedly exploring his new classroom. I was glad that I had Miss G to hug on my way out to the van because it was bittersweet to realize that a part of my "little" boy had just become a memory. Who would have ever thought I'd miss the tug on my heart that his clingy cries never failed to produce.

I'm very happy to report that he is still very, very happy to see me when I pick him up. I thought for sure he'd be a little more subdued this year, given how ready he was to stay at school, but my heart did a happy little flip flop when he yelled, "Mommy" at the top of his lungs as I walked in the door. My smile grew bigger as I saw him then run to give me a giant squeeze. His hug was felt as tightly around my heart as it was around my neck.

His first day was a complete success. Apparently, he filled everyone in on the fact that both his new shirt and his entire lunch came from Target. He also graced the lunch table with several of his "knock, knock" jokes, which one teacher was still chuckling about. Her comment to me as we waved goodbye said it all...

"Someone grew up this summer."

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Yes, someone sure did.


Emily said...

Tara, yes...the eggs on the floor are a good thing :)

But on to your post. You have such a wonderful way of wording things. I knew from the title this one was going to be a doozy. I think my favorite part was him enthusiastically congratulating you, I can almost hear his little voice! And the passing of the torch, ummm, are you trying to make your blog readers sob? I can't imagine how many days like this there are ahead for us :) You're an amazing mom, big hugs today!

Anonymous said...

You made me teary this morning! Oh, my goodness... what do I say? That was such a wonderful read, start to finish. What a big, beautiful boy you have. He's growing up, just like he's supposed to. It proves you've done it well, if he's ready to fly for a little while, but still happy to come home again.
The pictures were great, and his little comments tell a lot about him! :) So cute. It's wonderful that he loves his sister. He sounds like one happy boy. I love, love, love to see happy children!

So, now you get to spend some time with little Miss G. I have sweet memories of those days, when the oldest was in school, and the little one was with me. She was my "buddy" for the day when we first moved here and I didn't know a soul. Good memories. Enjoy making them.

p.s. thank you so much for your sweet comment yesterday. It really does lift my spirits.


Sarah Markley said...

Oh...yes, someone grew up this summer (I think it was me!). Your kiddos are so so beautiful

BethAnne said...

They grow up so fast it seems like one day you are bringing them home from the hospital and the next they are on their way to 1st grade------I wish I could stop time and keep them little for about 10 more years!

Mari said...

Thanks for visiting me. I've enjoyed reading about Mitchell (who looks a lot like his Dad, from what I see on these pictures!) Very cute kids, and a really exciting time in his life! It sounds like he really did grow up this summer!

Denise said...

I have been lurking around your blog as well!

What a sweet post. It goes too fast!

You live in such a beautiful place.

Btw- I'm cursive and handwriting- not committed to one or the other!

Alana said...

Great pictures! I loved your directo quote..."Zach, how are ya baby?" That is priceless!

Short Stop said...

I am just totally crying. What a great post and you chose such wonderful words to express your feeling and the events of the day! Ohhh, and is Thomas lunchbox. My Jack would just love that!

This post will be a great memory to look back you were feeling, and his precious face! :)