I remember the conversation I had with my mum friends 3 years ago, as if it was yesterday. Esther was 22 months old and every fortnight I headed to a friend’s house where a group of mums caught up with each other. I was sitting at the outside table, momentarily lost in thought when I immediately caught onto the conversation with the mums talking about placing their child’s name down for Kindergarten (Kindy). I looked at the mums, slightly bewildered, thinking what type of Kindy had they enrolled in that required them to put their kids name down at the age of 1?
And then I realized it wasn’t just a Kindy, it was ALL Kindies! I went into a panic and admitted I hadn’t put Esther’s name down anywhere and one mum chastised me, while another told me I had to do it straight away because I wouldn’t be able to get in if I didn’t do it soon.
Another helpful mum suggested I contact a C & K Kindy that was situated in a low socio-economic area near me. The mum knew one of the teachers there and couldn’t recommend the Kindy enough. I made a note to ring them as soon as I got home to put Esther’s name down for 2015 enrolment. When I rang the Kindy, I was invited to come check out the facilities and bring Esther along.
Esther loved it and so did I. The teachers were LOVELY and the kids were happy and for some reason I remember all the kids had biblical names and for me that was a sign that this Kindy was the right one to go to.
On the open day, when Jacob came along to check the Kindy out for himself, he agreed that this was where we wanted our Esther to go, and it was going to give Esther the best learning environment before she would head into school the following year.
At the beginning of the year when I took Esther into Kindy, I worried how the heck I was going to get Esther sorted with a 6 month old baby on my hip and a nearly 2 year old who loved to go exploring.
I shouldn’t have worried.
The Kindy offered a safe environment for my younger girls to play. The teachers enveloped my younger girls as if they were part of the Kindy kids.
Each morning I would have to negotiate with Maggie on when we would leave. Sometimes I would leave with her screaming because she wanted to stay at Kindy.
In the afternoon, Maggie would run to Esther and give her a big hug and say ‘I missed you Esther’. A memory I will keep in my mind forever.
The beginning of the Kindy year saw Phoebe sit on the floor and play with my car keys while I signed Esther in, and then mid-year, Phoebe learned to walk and she was off – into the toys, or the paint or more recently, scooping water out of the toilets.
On Monday night I explained to Esther the next day would be her last day of Kindy and the news was met with sobs and protests of not wanting to go to school and how much she would miss her Kindy friends and her teachers. She loved her teachers and couldn’t imagine not seeing them again. She didn’t want to leave Kindy. I immediately worried again how she would go the next day.
Esther was completely fine on Tuesday at her Kindy breakup. But me? I was a hot mess of tears. What started the waterworks was the photo slideshow of the kids while The Carpenters played in the background.
Clearly I couldn’t control mine.
And then when the breakup party had finished, and I was picking up my Tupperware container from the kitchen, I pretty much bawled again at the Kindy kitchen sink!
This year has seen so much growth in my family. And Kindy has been an extension of our family. The community has been wonderful this year, and so supportive. It will be greatly missed next year.
So while I was sad to say goodbye, and I still get a bit teary about it (and I now have The Carpenters on repeat in my head), I know the goodbyes are only temporary because Maggie will be heading to the same Kindy in 2017 and Phoebe will attend 2 years after that.
I know the time will go fast and next year, new friends will be made and I’m looking forward to being involved in our school community. Our house is only around the corner from Esther’s new school and I want to offer a safe house for her friends to come over.
What I realized, after my emotional week, is that the best made memories are the little things we do everyday.
The everyday things like going to Kindy and excursions and catching up with mum friends and getting involved in the community events. It’s also watching the interactions with siblings and other Kindy friends. I guess I was sad to have only realized on the last day of Kindy how rich my life (and my family’s) had been with those beautiful moments, made throughout the year.
So, I apologise for not being as personal on Facebook this week. And not reading or commenting on many blogs. Truth be told I have tears running down my cheeks as I write this post.
Anyway, to the mums who have little ones going to Kindy next year, you are definitely going to enjoy it and those of us with a Kindy graduate, heading to prep next year, it’s ok to be emotional. But the great news is our lives are only going to get richer as we embrace a new school year and a new community.
Bring on 2016.
Did you have a Kindy graduate this year? Do you cry when a life season ends? How did your child enjoy their first year in Kindy or Prep? Any tips to get Esther prepared over the school holidays?