There was a time not so long ago that you were this little boy who couldn’t speak a word. You schlepped through the house, pointing and grunting to get the things you wanted/needed. You were often frustrated because eighty percent of the time, we had no clue what you were trying to tell us. In your moments of frustration, you often resorted to outbursts and tantrums–anything that would grab our attention. These were dark times.
I delayed your preschool admittance at the time due to your lack of linguistic ability. I was worried that your lack of language would make your transition into school difficult and I was fearful that you would associate school with negative feelings. Not exactly something I wanted you to be experiencing at such a young age. Something clicked through the course of your speech therapy because after months of working tirelessly with you–practicing word puzzles, making every sound imaginable, breaking down words–you finally got it. Like a light switch turned on in your head, you began talking and you haven’t stopped talking since. I’m often reminded of the saying, be careful what you wish for.
You started preschool and you transitioned so well that it actually made me sad that you weren’t more emotional about this new milestone in your life. Clearly, you were ready to move on. Social settings are your forte so you succeeded quite well. I always received positive reviews from your teachers and given the ecstatic nature of your classmates upon your arrival at school, it was clear that you were right where you belong.
This past Thursday was your last day of preschool. Well, technically you’re going in to transitional kindergarten which is still preschool but because you’re actually at the elementary school, it feels like a new adventure–the next step. You’re elated to be going to “the big school up the hill” and are even more excited to be attending the same school as all the neighborhood kids. Most of your classmates in preschool are staying for another year and towards the end of the school year, were allowed to spend some time in their new classroom. According to your teacher, you insisted on staying back as you proudly declared to everyone that you were moving on: “sorry friends, I’m going to John Green M&Mtary!”
Your teachers were extremely sad to hear that you would not be returning for a final year and I was equally sad to say goodbye to people who took such great care of you. As your teachers and I reflected on your two years at school, your teacher told me about a recent conversation she had with you. According to her:
Miles was sitting at the table with his classmates, practicing writing their names. Miles, clearly has had practice writing his name because he did it quickly. I told him how excited I was to see how well he wrote his name and asked him if he wanted to practice his last name. I asked, “do you know your last name?” Without missing a beat, Miles said, “Stop it.” Confused, I asked, “Your last name is ‘stop it?’ ” Yes, my mom always calls me, Miles, stop it.” I swear, I’ve never laughed harder.
Clearly, you’re a comedian.
Your teacher put together a lovely book that includes pictures and drawings from this past school year that will most likely have to be pried from my cold drunk hands one day when I find myself reminiscing too hard about your childhood.
With the completion of your last year of preschool, you also have completed your first year of little league. You finished the season with a party and as I sat back and watched you run around with your friends, I felt proud that you spent your first season with such wonderful kids. As I deal with you and Olivia, I frequently find myself disliking other people’s kids more and more. These kids were great and I’m terribly sad to say goodbye. If only we could keep the same team from year to year. In addition to the awesome kids, I have to give huge credit to your dad and the other coaches who were so good with you all. At every game, every single one of you were having fun. The coaches didn’t scream at you–they talked to you, they encouraged you and I wouldn’t be surprised if you all returned next year.
Parents must have been eager for the season to wrap up because nobody bothered to check if snacks were taken care of for the last game. Most of you play for the snack so you can imagine the tantrums that ensued when you all realized there was no snack for the final game. Actually, it was just you who had the tantrum. Of course you would be devastated over the lack of snacks. It’s not like I feed you or anything.
Summer is officially here which means friends, lazy days, swim meets and of course, the Summer of Awesome. Sadly, we had to say goodbye to one family in our neighborhood already but it was lovely to see the entire neighborhood coming together for their last day before their big move. At this point, it’s really hard to say goodbye to these kids because you have been playing with them since you were learning to walk in the street with nothing but a onesie and booties on. There were lots of hugs, lots of pictures and even a farewell race to the corner to scream goodbye as they pulled away. I became quite emotional if I’m being honest.
Being a parent is hard and most of the hardships come from trying ever so hard to control your children in public. Nothing is worse than watching your child throw a massive fit in the middle of the store and feeling every person around you watching and judging. Unfortunately for me, you acting out in public is one of your favorite pastimes. As you’re becoming older, the tantrums are subsiding a bit but now I have to be aware of you trying to attract attention by being the funny guy. Recently at your sister’s piano recital, you took it upon yourself to entertain the people properly by playing air-piano in the aisle. I should have put a stop to it. I should have told you to be respectful. I should have asked you to sit down and observe quietly. Sometimes, doing the right thing is not fun (the responsible things rarely are). Instead, I filmed you like the responsible parent I am and enjoyed every second of your entertaining ways. I’m fairly certain the people sitting behind us, hated us. A small price to pay for classic moments.
You drive us all mad with your attention-grabbing stunts: following Olivia all around the house saying, “YOO-HOO,” following me around the house doing your Pee-Wee Herman impersonations, continuing to give me small heart attacks by jumping into the deep end of pools when I’m not watching (despite not knowing how to swim). You’re a busy kid and most of my exhaustion can be directly correlated to trying to keep up with you. Summers can be trying on both of us but I also happily look forward to them. I am working part-time which is taking some of our summer and I am saddened that I’m missing some moments but like a wise person once said, if I close my eyes, I can see everything in my brain. Amen, son.
And because I listen to this all the livelong day: