Today did not go as planned.
It was Lina’s last day of early childhood preschool. She has spent three years at Pearre Creek Elementary, where the teachers, therapists and staff have loved her and she has loved them. She has thrived. She has asked for school on weekends and holidays. This place has been good to her. It has been good for her.
I was emotional before the day even began. (You’re shocked, I know.) I cried as I thanked the amazing bus driver and aide and watched that preschool bus pull away for the last time.
I got my post-gym shower and headed to Target to pick up a few things. (How many disasters have begun that way?) It wasn’t until I looked down at my phone, well into my meandering, and saw the calendar reminder for Lina’s end-of-year school party, that I remembered I was supposed to be at her school an hour early. I was supposed to bring baby carrots. I was supposed to hear the kids perform the songs they’ve been practicing for weeks, the ones Lina has requested we sing along with on YouTube every day this week. It was five minutes until the 30-minute party started. I was 25 minutes away.
I cried all the way there. The landscaping truck in front of me belched black fumes as we lurched through the worst 3 p.m. traffic I’ve ever seen between Target and Pearre Creek. I’d like to tell you I got it together before walking into the classroom, but nope. I cried again once I got there, as kids were already heading out the door with their parents.
But Lina – that girl, that light of my life – was overjoyed to see me. She was relishing her party snacks like they were the only food she’d have that day. I worked valiantly – really, it was downright heroic – to regain control of myself, and I just managed to avoid ugly crying again as we said our many good-byes.
As I look back tonight at the photos, I can (mostly) let go of my frustration and disappointment. Because, y’all, look at these faces. The pictures are grainy and blurry as I scrambled to catch the moments, but look at the way these women, these super heroes of Pearre Creek EC, have loved our girl.
What more can I add to that? Thank you, Pearre Creek. We will not forget all you have done for Lina.