I just got the text from your Mom about how the first day at your new preschool is going.
First days are hard, and you’ll have plenty of them. You want to be yourself. You want to fit in. You want to find comfort and create familiarity. I don’t have the full story from your Mom yet, but it sounds like you made it through the first two hours (out of three) before shedding some tears. A teacher asked if you were feeling sad, and obviously you were. I bet you bit your lower lip a few times before that.
I am proud of you for working through those tough moments without us. There are plenty of cliches about dealing with adversity. The punchlines are all the same: you’re better for it.
Before I left for work today you expressed some concern and asked, “Will you come back to me?” Like Daniel Tiger says, grown-ups always come back.
My heart aches that you would feel sad, alone, scared or abandoned, but you’re learning that those are the feelings associated with gaining a little more independence. I don’t take for granted that in coming years you won’t consider if your Mom and I are going somewhere with you and will probably wish we don’t.
You’ve already worked through a lot of discomfort gracefully. Your third international trip in as many years has proven you’re a pro at traveling. There were some rough moments traveling to Italy a few weeks ago, but we didn’t have to worry about you much at all. You did a great job on the plane with your potty training and sat calmly watching your movies, taking breaks to snack and nap. You’ve been great at helping Matteo, too, and sweetly reach to hold his hand when you’re sitting side-by-side in the stroller. Sometimes you’re not so sweet and snatch toys from him, and he retaliates by pulling your hair. You will have grow-out bangs for years at this pace.
You show flashes of maturity, asking intelligent questions and jumping in on conversations where we don’t expect you to. You love watching Taylor Swift videos, falling under the spell she has cast on millions of little girls. Whether her songs are playing in the background or not, you ask me to dance with you. I never say no to the opportunity to spin and jump around.
And for everyone of those growing-up moments, you like to pretend you’re a cat and meow — probably inspired by the farm cat neighbors we had in Italy and watching too much Daniel Tiger. I’m hoping that’s a phase that passes quickly.
I’m sure the anxiety at preschool will be a phase that passes quickly, too. I plan to take you to your second day of school on Friday. We’ll get donuts on the way to pre-funk. You’ll be on your own again for just a few hours, but don’t worry — I’ll come back for you. Grown-ups always come back.
Love always, Dad