My son started preschool a couple weeks ago.
I went back and forth, back and forth, and back and forth, deciding whether or not it was a smart idea to send him in this strange world of COVID.
I felt comfortable with the precautions and really felt it was the best decision for all of us.
To put it into perspective, my son and I have been together every single day, in some capacity, for almost 580 days.
He’s never been in daycare. He’s never been with a babysitter. He’s never been in the care of anyone else, aside from my mom.
I’m extremely fortunate and thankful for that, and it has been so rewarding and fulfilling to be able to do that with him, but I felt it was really time for both of us.
I prepared myself, time and time again, for the moment we would be separated. I told myself to be strong and that everything would be okay.
I prepared myself for the walk to his classroom, where I would meet his teacher, his classmates, and their parents.
I prepared myself to see my son engrossed in play, while I quietly snuck out to watch him from afar.
That is, until I found out that I would be unable to walk him into the building.
That is, until I found out that I wouldn’t be able to walk him into his classroom.
Or meet his teacher.
Or meet his classmates. Or their parents.
Or make sure he’s okay without me.
That is, until a masked employee took him from my arms and whisked him away into the building.
That was it.
The doors closed in front of me.
He was gone.
I stood there for a moment, feeling the tears welling up in my eyes. There was no one else around me, but I turned around and practically sprinted to my car.
I fell into the driver’s seat, shut the door, and the hot tears immediately started to fall.
I’m thrilled that this situation wasn’t hard for him, but I never anticipated it being this hard for me.
I had this whole thing planned out in my head, how we would walk into the building, hand-in-hand, and we would enter his classroom and I would gently coax him to play, and to meet his classmates.
But it’ll never be like that. He’ll never have that first walk into his first day of preschool ever again.
And I missed out on it.
While he was experiencing a huge milestone for himself, I felt like I was the one missing a huge milestone for myself.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. It’s not supposed to be like this.
Because as hard as this whole situation is for our children, it’s hitting us, as parents, just as hard.
This piece was originally published on the author's Facebook page.