Last week, Hadley started a summer preschool program in our neighborhood. The above picture is one of the girls holding hands on our walk home from Hadley's school.
I suppose it would be surprising if I wrote that Hadley hated preschool, or that she didn't want us to leave when we dropped her off. And I'm relieved to write that this was not the case, however, for me it is always a surprise to watch Hadley do so well in new and unknown situations.
So Hadley had a great week at preschool. Everyday I get a little report telling me what they did, what Hadley's mood was like (always happy), and how much Hadley ate. I also get a packet at the beginning of each month telling me what they are learning that month (June was the concept of zero, and the country Brazil. I imagine July will have something to do with Independence Day). The newsletter brings me nostalgically back to my days at Covenant Christian School when each Sunday I wrote my newsletter letting parents know what I hoped we'd be doing that week. As someone experiencing the other side of school, I can say I appreciate knowing what's going on.
Which probably has been the most difficult thing for me as Hadley begins her schooling. It's not that I want to control what she's doing every minute of the day, but I want to see and experience what she's doing. On Thursday they had "water play" and I have an idea of what that is all about, but I missed out on Hadley playing with the water. Did she like it? Did she talk about what she was doing? Did she ask questions? What was her favorite part? Again, it's not that I hope she's doing these things, I'm just curious as to what this is experience is like for her.
I was driving home from Trader Joe's on Thursday listening to the radio when the DJ broke in on the song to say that Micheal Jackson had died. The rest of my trip home just about every radio station played one of his songs, and they brought back a lot of memories, but one of the clearest ones was the day my mom bought the Thriller album for me. I was in second grade, and my class was going on a field trip to the Oak Park Conservatory. I don't know how my mom knew where I was, but as we were crossing the bridge of the Eisenhower, she was driving my way. She'd propped the album in the window for me to see she'd bought it. I remember seeing Michael Jackson in his white suit against the black background and the words Thriller across the top. I think the letters were in some kind of electric pink. Very 80s. I think I remember seeing Geoff's head peeking over the top of the album cover as they drove by.
I'm sure my mom wasn't super excited about my interest in Micheal Jackson. But she knew I liked him, and if I'm learning anything about being a mother it's that you naturally get excited about the things your kids love. (If I could, I'd decorate our whole place in Dora or Diego but I don't because just as they've replaced Elmo, I know that next year at this time it'll be someone else.)
It's sad that Michael Jackson died, but I'm glad to have thought about that memory because it came at a time when I was feeling sad about missing out on part of Hadley's day when she's in preschool. And remembering it, I see the model my mom left for me. I want to be a part of the world Hadley's creating for herself, but it won't always be first hand like it has for the past 2 1/2 years.
The song "Thriller" came on over the radio just as I was turning into our complex that afternoon, so I decided to make one more loop around the block so I could do what I believe is pretty good car dancing that Hadley no longer allows me to do (she used to find it amusing). I thought about the days Geoff and I would dance to the songs on the album (sorry to bring that up Geoff, but really, you can thank me for teaching you everything you know - except for maybe the backspin - you did a pretty mean one), or the times my dad would do the moonwalk for us, or the time my friends and I did some kind of terrible dance routine to "Billie Jean" in elementary school. My mom was probably shaking her head in embarrassment, but I don't remember her telling me it was terrible.
I hope I can pull these things up when Hadley and Harper have an interest in something as they grow older. It might not be dancing, or flip flops, or pens and college-ruled paper. It could be math, and science, and bees. But I have confidence I'll be interested in whatever it is they love because they are my girls, and seeing them excited is one of the best parts about being their mom.
I don't have pictures of the preschool because I'm not sure what the protocol is for taking pictures and posting them on a blog. I need to ask about that, but I'm terribly afraid of being the kind of parent that I dreaded when I was a teacher ("I see that you're in the middle of teaching, but can you please pull up my kid's grade and all his missing work right now?" "I left an animal in your room for you to take care of for the week - hope that's OK!" "Can I have your cell phone number? It's just not enough for me to have your email AND your home phone number."), so here are some ones of the past week.
Here's Harper on her way to pick up Hadley:
And here's a picture of Hadley at Starbucks blowing pieces of paper with her straw. I taught her this game and it proved to be a great time consumer while waiting for Jesse to meet us so we could go to Gordon Biersch for dinner.