(Photos courtesy of Aleph Bet Director, Shayna Howard)
Today was a really big day for Noelle...and for me.
Noelle had her first day of preschool.
Our kiddo is now the newest member of Aleph Bet Children's Center part-time preschool program. It is a wonderful Jewish school with an awesome director and caring teachers and it just happens to be literally *right next door* to the church my husband pastors.
Yes, I know it may seem like an odd move to some out there, but to our family, today was a huge blessing and answer to prayer.
As you read my post from Nov. 20, you know that I've had my struggles recently. Learning to be a mom while living far from everything safe and familiar had been taking it's toll on me-- and I didn't like the person I was becoming. I have been cranky, exhausted and an emotional wreck. My house has been in a constant state of disarray. I couldn't even seem to find the strength to hang pictures or do other things that would make the parsonage feel like home. I was avoiding calls and emails and could hardly wait until Noelle's nap time so I could take one too. My family and friends began to be concerned. I was concerned. Something had to give.
Through holding tightly to Jesus and leaning on the encouraging prayers of my loved ones, I am starting to find some solutions. Eric and I are working on finding more balance in our home life. I finally went to see the doc for a check-up. (He put me on the, um, "pill" to, er, regulate my, uh, "cycle" and hormone levels.)(sorry guys!) I am beginning to make improvements in my nutritional intake (boy, that sweet tooth is gonna be hard to break), and I started filling out an application to the local YMCA for a regular work-out program (oh me achin' back!).
Sending Noelle to a 2 day preschool program is another one of these solutions. It gives Noelle, an extremely active and inquisitive child, the opportunity to socialize with kids her age. And it gives mom-me the chance to run errands, do chores and...breathe.
Eric and I had talked and prayed about this possibility for many weeks, but did not see a way to fit it in our budget. God bless my sweet parents-- they offered to help us pay for Noelle to attend a preschool program. Wow oh wow!! And then the day we went visiting schools, Aleph Bet Children's Center (a highly recommended school and very difficult to get in to) just happened to have one opening in the Tues / Thurs 2-year-old classroom. Wow oh wow oh wow!! We met with the director and teachers on several occasions, Noelle attend a "practice" day with mom...and we signed her up.
Today, lunch box and blanket in hand, our family of three arrived at Noelle's new school. Eric kissed his angel good-bye and walked across the yard to work, and a nervous mommy and Noelle walked through the front door.
I stayed for 15 minutes or so to let Noelle get a feel for things, gave my baby a hug and kiss, then slipped out the door when she was happily engaged cooking in the play kitchen. At home, I worked like a fiend on long over-due projects, all the while praying for my little girl's happiness, safety and well being. Her class schedule is posted on our fridge, so I enjoyed keeping track of her throughout the day.
At 1:00pm my phone rang. It was Miss Meghan, Noelle's head teacher. She called to say that Noelle was doing fabulously. Praise Jesus! I almost bawled right there on the phone, I was so relieved.
Our scheduled pick-up time arrived and I drove to the school to collect my precious cargo. I wondered how she would greet me. She happened to playing outside on the playground at the time and when she saw me, she acknowledged my presence with a nod then went back to playing. Hey! Where's my hug? Where's my "Mommy, mommy, mommy!!!"
It's okay. Actually it's much better than okay. My little girl was safe, happy and having a ball. Again I breathed a thank you to my Heavenly Father-- for the preschool-answer-to-prayer, but mostly for my gift of a precious daughter.
When I finally persuaded Noelle to come home with me - first she had to hug her teachers and say 'bye' to her friends and Bob the Bunny (her stuffed animal for nap time) and Romeo the Bunny (the live school-pet rabbit that lives outside) - we headed back inside to collect the lunchbox and head home. But before I could get her out the door, Noelle ran back inside her classroom, pressed her face up to the glass door leading outside to the play ground, and proclaimed with a wave, "Bye-bye friends! I miss you!"