I feel like it was just yesterday we were taking Abby to her first day of pre-preschool (and Mac practically looked like a baby – check it out). Shockingly enough, that was 8 months ago and what really happened yesterday was Mackenzie’s 2nd birthday celebration. How is that possible?
I say this all too often, but time really is flying. Goodness gracious…Travis and I have only known each other for just over six years and this is our life!?
We’re so lucky. But I digress…
Today was Mac’s first official day of pre-preschool.
And while she’s been asking to go to school since Abby started, she had to wait until she was two…so today was the big day. It was her big debut. And it was funny, because the only reason she was really excited about even having a birthday yesterday was because it meant she got to take her lunchbox to school. This girl has been DYING to take her lunchbox to school. Today her dream came true and she wasn’t about to let anyone else carry her lunch for her. She carried it from the house, to the car, up the stairs at school, and then she placed it “perfectly” in her lunchbox cubby. She is OBSESSED with her lunch box.
There was nothing but excitement around the house this morning. Abby was excited to show Mac around her old classroom. Mac was excited about finally unveiling her lunchbox. I was excited to push a single BOB three miles around Lake Merritt instead of a double BOB (and I’m happy to say my run was over 3 minutes faster than usual). And Travis was excited that it was Monday so he could go back to work and communicate with adults again (I’m kidding on this one…but I bet it’s partially true). 😉
All the excitement continued when Mackie (her new nickname) confidently marched up the stairs to her “Little Angels” class.
Abby insisted on dropping her off to show her around and Mac was thrilled. She dropped her lunchbox off and followed Abby all around. She got the grand tour. It started at the bathroom and ended at the play kitchen (and there were zero stops anywhere else…apparently those were the only two places that mattered).
We (I) chose to ignore the fact that Mac’s name was spelled incorrectly on her cubby (McKenzie), and after attempting to say goodbye multiple times to an already way too cool for school Mac, I was basically kicked out of the room by the head teacher (I swear I’m the furthest thing from a helicopter parent, but I was certainly lingering longer than necessary).
I left. Mac was happy. She was busy. Abby was ready for school. I was ready for my run with Caroline. So I drove away. I ran. I went home. I showered.
And then the call came.
It was the call I was expecting (because they always call on your kid’s first day of school to let you know how things are going). When they called on Abby’s first day of school, they said she was having a great time. She had already made a friend. They were holding hands.
I expected the same report about Mac.
I was wrong.
I was told Mac was having a really, really hard time. That after about 30 minutes, she realized I wasn’t there. Abby wasn’t there. Baba (her lovey) wasn’t there. She was in a new place, all alone. The excitement over her lunchbox must have faded. The reality set in. I was told she hadn’t actually cried, but she was very “stiff.” AKA – Mac was ANGRY. She didn’t want to be touched. Or talked to. Or anything.
And I felt SO guilty. And so sad. And I cried. Was it too soon? Is she too young?
I wanted to rush to the school and give her a hug. I know Mac. It takes her time to warm up. She has a temper. She speaks firmly. She doesn’t really like hugs unless she’s exhausted and wants to snuggle, or she’s getting one from Abby, or Daddy’s home from work, or she’s with Gappy (my Dad). She knows what she wants and always, always has. She also knows what she doesn’t want…and school was definitely on that list this morning.
Gosh, and as much as I wanted to pick her up super early, I didn’t. I was approximately 7 minutes early. I was anticipating hearing Mac’s cry from the car. Thankfully, I didn’t. I was also expecting to hear her cry the moment I stepped into the room. I didn’t. I was greeted by her teacher – the teacher I talked with on the phone. Very calmly she said, “All it took was lunch. Once she had lunch, she was fine. She calmed down. She was happy. She was engaged.”
It was her lunchbox. It was always the lunchbox.
When I peeked around the corner of the room, I saw an extremely curious and content Mackenzie (or McKenzie). She was listening to a story. She was talking to a friend. She was opening filing cabinets she wasn’t supposed to. She was being Mac.
And once her story was over, she saw me. And Caroline. And Baba. And she lit up. She was so excited. I kind of wanted to cry again. But then she saw her lunchbox. And she lit up even more.
According to Mackenzie, she had the best 1st day ever. And honestly, that’s all that really matters to me.