There are so many milestones you face as a parent.
Sometimes the milestone is your child's and sometimes it's your own.
This week, our middle child starts school. It's a little bit strange. He's excited and has been for months. There is no reason I should feel anything other than excitement for him.
And I do feel that. I am not so much worried about him starting school. I am sad about him leaving daycare - or perhaps, I think, I am sad that I am leaving daycare.
When our girl, now 7, started school, I had absolutely no qualms about it. She seemed very on to it academically, made friends easily, and had a sass-factor of 11 out of 10. I felt she could hold her own with both her book smarts and street smarts.
Now, I am not sure if it is their different personalities – although it is fair to say our middle boy is no wallflower either – or if perhaps he just seems so small compared to our girl who is two years older, but I have emotions this time around that I didn't seem to have with her.
The overriding feeling I had last week when he finished daycare was an unexplained sadness.
He's been to his daycare since he was 1. Four whole years.
Some of his teachers, at least in the last year or so anyway when he has been going four days a week, have spent almost as much time with him as we have. These teachers are amazing. I know most parents say that of their children's daycare. But these teachers are so hardworking and really love our kids.
You can tell by the little details they give you about the kids' days. They're the kinds of things that only a parent would care about or notice, when you really, really know a child.
These teachers are so much more than teachers. They have become friends and confidantes. If we have had any issues with the kids, they always have suggestions for things we could try to move through whatever phase it is.
They send pictures of the kids some days, often after hours, sharing things they know we would find entertaining, or cute.
They are also often the first rational humans I see in the morning, sometimes easing the burden of parental frustrations with their kindness and calm that has made me feel sane on days that can so easily stay otherwise.
I guess in some way it feels like I am leaving pieces of our boy behind there.
It also feels is as if yet another safety net is being taken away from me, not just our boy.
These teachers have had my back. They have helped us raise our children.
When our girl left daycare, I still had our boy going a few days a week.
It wasn't "good bye", it was "see you next week".
I asked our boy how he felt about leaving daycare. "Good," he replied.
He's completely fine about it. He just wants to go to school. My emotions are completely irrational but it is what it is.
So, I did what anyone not handling their emotions well does: I delayed myself having to properly feel it all for another few years by enrolling our youngest boy in daycare for one day a week.
For him – and for me.