I usually let Braxton choose the books he wants to read at bedtime, but this week, I made sure to include a special one: “Llama Llama Misses Mama.”
“Llama school begins today!
Time to learn and time to play!”
We went back to school this week, which meant Braxton went back to daycare. This is a time of varying emotions for us ranging from sadness to excitement.
We have chosen to be working parents and know it’s best for us. However, being teachers puts us in the unique position of being stay-at-home parents for the summer, which means we get lots of time with Braxton, but then have to ease him back into being at daycare.
I love our daycare and Braxton is happy there, but he has never been good with the initial separation. There are usually tears or a protest of some sort, hard to bear in the moment, but which end shortly after we leave.
“Hang the coat
And say goodbye.
I love my job and look forward to each new year. However, I also cherish the time I have with my little guy, being challenged and rewarded in even deeper, more meaningful ways than the classroom.
Every day, minute, hour has offered rare opportunities that many other working parents don’t get. We have watched him grow and change: His language developing into sentences. His sweetness turning into a sense of compassion. His likes developing into loves. On top of that, we have this special block of time that allows us to indulge his new passions through taking him on the train at the zoo or seeing model cars or spending the afternoon at the sand park.
Of course, going back to school doesn’t mean we can’t still do these things, but they have to be scheduled and planned. We have to battle the beast that is our jobs as teachers, which can be all-consuming. Plus, we miss that day to day, constant interaction where these things develop rather than just appear at the dinner table.
In the week leading up to this transition, I have been enthusiastically reading this book to him and discussing how Llama feels about going to school and being away from momma. He feels both sad and happy for Llama and his Mama. I do too.
“Don’t be sad, new little llama!
It’s OK to miss your mama,
But don’t forget—
When day is through,
She will come right back to you.”
While we feel blessed by our unique time together, we also get greedy, we want more. However, we also know it is good for Braxton to grow and learn beyond us, to gain those social skills and be with other kids. That’s why we enjoy these passages too:
“Llama Llama please don’t fuss
Have some fun and play with us!
He laughs when they are making the “chugga choo” and loves seeing them go down the slide. The same things he loves at his own daycare. I smile with him as we read, but eagerly anticipate the moment when he notices the mama in the background before Llama realizes she’s there. Then together we say, as I turn the page:
“Mama Llama you came back!
The best moment, for both of us, is at the end, when Llama realizes, “He loves Mama
And school too!”
Jenny Razor, a high school English teacher at Omaha Public Schools, blogs every other Saturday on momaha.com
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