Today was Ellie’s last day at Agape, and therefore her last day of Preschool before heading off to Kindergarten next week, and I’m a wreck. Ellie is fine, of course, but I’m a mess.
It was a bit of a struggle to get into Agape in the first place. Our friends Dana and David had their daughter in Agape and couldn’t say enough about how great a school it was. They relentlessly lobbied to get us in there with the owner, Linda, and I made frequent phone calls until, after being on the wait list for a year, they were able to get Ellie in at Agape a few days a week. When I got a job with Microsoft a few months later, Ellie transitioned to full-time care.
(Here she is on her first day at Agape in May of 2010. She’s so little.)
Agape was the best thing that could have happened for Ellie and our family. Ellie is the confident, adventurous, curious, amazing child she is in large part to the care and attention she has received at Agape. They have encouraged her and nurtured her in ways that Jeff and I couldn’t have done on our own. I’m sure some of that would have happened at any school: she would have been able to play with other kids her age, would have had good teachers that cared for her, and would have learned new things. But, there is something extra about Agape that I’m still trying to identify.
All I know is that I’m heartbroken that Ellie has to leave Agape. I know it’s time, and I know she’s ready. But still I’m sad in a deep, profound way that I wasn’t expecting.
She has made some amazing friends at Agape, and even more amazing, we like all her friend’s parents. Many of us have vowed to keep in touch and set up play dates for our kids even though they are going off to several different schools. I really hope this happens. We have become friends with many of the parents, and I would hate to lose those relationships as our kids go in different directions.
For the last few days, even the thought of this change as brought me to tears. Understandably, Agape is clearing out Ellie’s things (photos and artwork that have been up all year) and sending them home. Each time something new comes home it crushes me a little. Jeff has been understanding and supportive, while also cautioning me not to transfer my anxiety on to Ellie. I’ve only been moderately successful at that.
This morning I said goodbye to several of the teachers, including Linda. We were both in tears. And she actually thanked me for being “such a pain in the butt” while I tried to get Ellie in the school. We both agreed that Ellie would thrive in her next environment, but still we cried for the loss we were feeling.
When I picked Ellie up from school, I was surprisingly calm and not teary. Ellie was a little sad that her last day at Agape had to be rainy and said she would miss Agape. She asked again if we could visit. Yes, of course. She asked again if we could take Sparkles the guinea pig home sometimes. Yes, of course. We agreed that we could be both sad that we were leaving Agape and excited about going into Kindergarten – then she perked up and we decided we needed a cookie from the bakery across the street. Cookies always help.
Coincidentally, tonight was also the day of the Adams Kindergarten potluck. This was Ellie’s chance to go in her classroom, look around, and meet her teacher, Mrs. Worthington (who seems wonderful!).
Six kids from Agape are going to Adams (including Ellie), and one of them, Jake, will be in her class. I’m so thankful she will have someone she knows in her classroom. She will be able to see her other friends every day at lunch and recess and occasionally during other activities.
Ellie is excited about her new school, the new playground, the owl decorations on the wall in her classroom, and that several of her friends are going on this adventure with her.
It was tough getting into Adams too (we had to go through a lot of hoops to get Ellie in) and I can only hope that we will be as grateful for our time at Adams as we have been with our time at Agape.