September 23, 2009

Autumn-time Begets Many Things

We've had two weeks of the most gorgeous weather you could imagine. Warm days, cool nights. Sunshine all around. Perfect autumn. We were especially thankful for the nice weather while Mom and Harry were here.

About an hour ago, the wind started up. And it's blowing pretty good now. Around these parts, that means a change in the weather is brewing. Not necessarily a storm, but I wouldn't be surprised to wake up to cloudy gray cover in the morning. Even though there are absolutely no clouds in the sky right now.

That's living in the Pacific Northwest. The weather can (and does) change just that quickly.

We experienced a major "first" today. Caleb started pre-school.

Speaking as a woman who was home schooled all her life and always planned to home school her own kids, I never thought I'd see this day.

I always wanted the best for my children, even before I had any. And the best, of course, meant home school. Home-schooling moms are successful, Proverbs 31 women who take parenting seriously, love their kids more than life itself, and always have it together. Their kids know they are loved because Mommy stays home to teach them. She comes up with amazing lessons plans, cool field trips, and awesome science projects. She does everything herself and her friends are impressed and inspired by her can-do-it-all attitude.

Public school, on the other hand, is for the lazy, the loser, the faint-hearted, and the inadequate.

Or so I have always believed.

Forgive my arrogance and foolish prejudice. They are wrong and I have no excuse.

God is teaching me something new. Something different. It smacks at my pride. It shows me the futility of my prejudice. Above all, it shows me God's ways are not my ways. And while it hurts, it's very, very good for me.

The moment I heard the words "speech delayed", I knew this day would come. The minute I heard those nice ladies in San Diego telling me my son "qualified" for their "services", I knew my expectations were on shaky ground. I also knew, deep down, that these pre-school classes were something Caleb needed.

I have looked forward to this first day of school with excitement, guilt, fear, and a sense of defeat. Excitement, for Caleb to make new friends, get the help he needs, and be exposed to new people, places, and experiences. Excitement, that I am guaranteed four hours a week all to myself.

Guilt, that those guaranteed four hours make me want to dance with sheer joy. (What kind of a parent AM I???).

Fear, that I will lose something precious when I drop my son off and leave him there. Fear, that I will fall in love with the Public School System and never want to home school my kids again.

Defeat, because my dreams became tainted last week when I bought Caleb a tiny backpack with Lightning McQueen on the front.

All these I struggle with. All these I pray about.

But I've realized something. Just because I send my son to pre-school doesn't mean I have to throw in the towel and not home school at all. Jason and I still hope and plan to school Caleb at home when he's ready. But what God is teaching me, is that I must do what's best for Caleb; that I must obey God first, however He tells me to raise my son. Even if that means my plans change. Even if it involves a little Public School.

So when this morning rolled around, I was pleased that joy and anticipation and excitement were the primary emotions flowing through my brain. I even took some pictures to commemorate the occasion:

He brushes his teeth on the bathroom counter while Mommy brushes hers nearby. Doesn't he look adorable? And happy? And so very grown-up??? Ready to take on the world.

I'm pleased to report his first day went off without a hitch. I actually stayed in the class with him (at his teachers' invitation) for the allotted two hours. Caleb ran from the painting easel, to the play dough table, to the big cloth blocks, to the sand box and back again. Just like a kid in a candy store. He even played nicely with the other children.

I had the opportunity to chat with his teachers and speech therapist and to ask questions like what sort of activities they'll be doing in the coming weeks and how they handled bad behavior.
When I drop him off (and actually leave him there) next Monday, I think I'll feel much more comfortable with this whole arrangement.

Seriously, I was thrilled. Totally thrilled. Autumn traditionally brings a new school year, a new set of beginnings. For me, growing up home schooled, I never had anything quite like it. I'm excited for Caleb to have these experiences and memories, even if they are only for a year or two.

At dinner, when Jason asked me how today went, I told him the truth: I think Caleb's pre-school will be a good thing. For all of us.


Linds said...

Good girl, my little sister. Important lessons come out of the every-day things. When I started reading the post, I somehow knew that you would be feeling that sense of guilt and defeat that you might not be able to home-school Caleb. But if he - and you - initially needs help from the public school system, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. They know how to help him and help you at the same time. And enjoy that excitement of getting 4 hours a week to yourself! You work so hard with being a mom and a wife and a homemaker that you deserve that time. Don't go thinking you're a bad parent because you are going to enjoy that time.

I love you, little sis. You'll still have your time at home with your son. =)

LeAnna said...

Linds said it perfectly! Momma's first job is to do what is best for her kiddos, and that's exactly what you're doing. :) Cute, cute, pics! He's looking all grown up. :)

Nicole said...

Thanks, you two. I appreciate the comments and the encouragement. I am, indeed, learning a lot right now about expectations AND parenting. :)

And don't worry, Linds. I promise I'll fill those four hours to the max and enjoy every moment!! :D