Two days ago, I was driving home from the grocery store with both girls. The sun was shining and the girls were singing and dancing in their carseats as we told Selena Gomez to go love herself. We were having so much fun that I decided we could chance a few more minutes in the car to hit up the Starbucks drive through.
After ten minutes of sitting in the line, I expressed impatience with how slowly it was moving. Zoe said “mom, it’s okay. Want to play a game while we wait? We can find some letters!” and identified an A and a B in the Starbucks sign.
Riley shouted “B!!!”
Both girls erupted into a fit of giggles.
And I thought: I’m so glad I didn’t miss this.
In our area, there is a lot of pressure to put kids in preschool early. I was an outlier when I didn’t start Zoe at 1.5. I felt countercultural when I didn’t put her in this fall at 2.5.
But I didn’t think Zoe was ready for it at 1.5, and I didn’t think she needed it at 2.5. While I knew it wouldn’t be detrimental, I also knew that I would be putting her in preschool so I could get a break from her—not to meet a particular need of hers.
I had also just spent a year trying to teach her to be kind to Riley–and she was finally getting it! I wanted to give her a chance to ENJOY being with her sister, and for Riley to have the chance to enjoy playing with a nurturing, caring sister.
Also, after spending a year in survival mode simply meeting the constant barrage of needs, I wanted to give myself a chance to enjoy my girls as they entered less-needy stages and were finally on the same schedule.
On paper, it made sense to send Zoe to preschool—all of my friends were doing it, and I was tired! But whenever I thought about sending her to school, I felt a pit in my stomach. When I thought about keeping her home, I felt peace. I decided to trust that if God was leading me to spend another year at home with both of them, He would give me energy to keep going.
I knew there would be some mundane moments (exhibit A: this particular morning in which we went to Jazzercise, the grocery store, and Starbucks—the SAHM trifecta) but I believed that I was being called to share those mundane moments with both girls this year. Even if no one else in playgroup was doing it. 🙂
It turns out that these mundane moments have been some of the best moments of my life.
Playing in the yard…checking books out of the library…choosing strawberry jelly for Daddy at the grocery store…painting…reading…cuddling and sharing a blanket on the couch…driving in the car together…giggling over Riley’s latest trick…waiting in the Starbucks line together, deciding together to be patient and have fun while we wait…
The smallest moments of the smallest time of my life have brought me immense joy. And I could have missed these unrushed moments because I was too tired and didn’t trust God to give me energy or because I felt pressured by what my peers were doing.
This definitely isn’t an anti-preschool or anti-peer rant…it’s just me sharing how grateful I am that I was obedient to what God called me to do, and hopefully encouraging you to run YOUR race, whatever that looks like for you! There are great rewards along the way.
(Postscript: a large deposit from my bank account says that I am putting both girls in preschool two mornings a week next year. Although part of me will be so ready for a break after 3.5 years of full-time loving and nurturing and educating and cruise directing, I am already sad about the reduction of our time together and the fact that Zoe will be starting on a school pipeline that she won’t get off of until she is an adult! How did this happen already?!)