And she’s off….to pre-K!

Version 2

Last Thursday night (9/3/15) I attended Parent Open House in preparation for Stella’s 4 year old pre-K school year.  As I sat in one of those little plastic toddler chairs several thoughts fluttered around in my head.

  • After so many years of teaching, it felt odd not being the one leading the event.
  • This chair will definitely make Stella’s hiney happier than it is mine at this moment.
  • Based on the conversations amongst the parents, it appeared that most of the children in her class were at the school for 3 year old pre-K.
  • I need to ask the teachers if I can take their photo so I could prepare Stella with their faces so that they weren’t as much “strangers” on the first day of school.
  • Lord, please help Stella’s heart embrace this transition.

I came home that night with a smile on my face and excitement in my voice, ready to get Stella pumped about the year. I showed her the photo of her teachers and we practiced their names. Then, I told her I saw where she would hang her backpack & coat and that the space was marked with a red apple that had her name on it. Her response, “For me!” in her calm, loving, voice.  {picture is from day 1}

stella apple

For the next several days we would randomly bring up her teachers {Ms. Dana & Ms. Meghan}, activities she would do at school, her lunch box {she was so excited about her owl lunchbox}, etc. in our conversations so that hopefully day one would be a success. We also continued to read Llama Llama Misses Mama as it discussed school, missing your mama and the fact that mama’s always come back!

{Yep, Sweet Pea, this mama will always come back. Baba too!}

Tuesday, September 8 rolled around, which meant pre-K was here! Our girl who is typically up by 7am was still sleeping soundly when I walked in her room at 7:25am. When I turned on the light, this was her response…

sleepy head day 1


Yet another “typical” event was twisted. The breakfast request was for hot noodles, so Hot Thai noodles it was. {No time to make anything more authentic and she was ok with it.} Since clothes were already on, Panda went on! **I have to wonder if she just needed a little comfort food on this big day.

noodle breakfast

The moment that all mama’s want and many children dread was here. It was time to capture the infamous “first day of school” photo.  For the most part she has outgrown the ‘I don’t smile for photos’ phase, which is good because her smile is so beautiful.

stella preK day 1

…then we needed to jump in…

mama-baba-stella 1st day

And we were off…

The school called the first hour, “Parent Meet and Greet” and we were quite thankful. We were able to take Stella to her classroom and stay a while. This is just what this mama needed and though Baba is more quiet about his emotions, I think he needed it too.  When we arrived in her classroom she was given a book bag, a place to put her lunchbox, and shown her cubby. She turned around and saw her name on the table, which I think helped to make her feel welcome. She decorated her name, played with some toys, puzzles, the play kitchen and with each new center she explored she became more at ease.

stella school activities

At one point she saw one her classmate’s father give him a fist bump and tell him goodbye and to have a good day. I then asked if she was ready for mama and baba to leave and she said, “No, not yet.” We played some more and a little while later as I held her I asked again.

“Are you ready for mama and baba to leave?”

“No, not yet. I’ll miss you.”

Missing someone is an emotion that we are really working on these days. Some days are better than others. Often it leads to Stella becoming very clingy, so we weren’t sure how well our departure was going to be.


I told her that I would miss her too, but for her to remember that when I missed her I would look down at my ring. The ‘S’ is for Stella and the birthstone is hers. It would remind me that soon I’d get to see her. She looked at her wrist and said she had her bracelet. Her bracelet is one that she made not long after we came home. The ring & bracelet was a game plan we came up with Monday night and in the moment of needing comfort, she remembered and found comfort in it. That’s progress, people and melts my heart!!

As we were having this conversation, Ms. Dana walked up and shared that soon the class would be going to the playground.

“Bye mama!” was the next words spoken. Ms. Dana had just spoke her language, her heart was reassured and the first day of school was in full force.


Paul and I gave her one more hug, told her to have a good day and stepped out of the classroom. No tears {I repeat…no tears}, just happy hearts because our girl was happy, we knew she was in caring, safe hands, and in just a few short hours we’d be able to hear all about her day. As Paul and I drove off he reminded me that this was the first time in almost 8 months that we were not in the same location as Stella. Even at church we are in the same building, just different rooms.

And then the time came to pick her up…

I looked through the window and caught a glimpse of her before she saw me. She was all smiles, looking super cute in her new backpack. She ran to the door, greeted me with a hug and politely said goodbye to her teachers.

walking out

When we got to the car, she was able to see that mama kept her promise {her animals would stay in her seat, waiting for her to return} and that life was back to normal {cuddling with a soft, furry friend makes her world better}.animals

She was so very proud of her new backpack and wanted to make sure baba saw her in it, so she decided she’d ring the doorbell.

door bell


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