*Warning! There are way too many pictures of Oliver in this post because I’m one proud mama!!
When you are a young mother (or mother/parent/grandparent in general) and you are diagnosed with cancer, your first thoughts go to your child. I know that when I heard the words, “You have cancer,” I thought I might be dying. I immediately started wondering which of Oliver’s milestones cancer would let me see and which it would take away; his first day of Kindergarten, his first kiss, high school graduation, college graduation, marriage, his first child? A little over a year ago, not knowing what cancer had in store for me, I wondered if I would make it to his first milestone.
Last week, I made it to his first one. Oliver attended his first day of preschool. We were so excited about this because he has never been in any kind of school or daycare before. We had considered putting him in one last year but because of cancer, we couldn’t afford to do it and we were afraid of the germs he would bring home that would compromise my already fragile immune system.
We have been building up this day for a long time; talking about it, visiting the school, letting him pick his lunch box, reading books to him, taking a practice bus trip to the school… Many conversations and stories have been leading up to this day.
The night before, we read him a book that we love, Rosie Goes To Preschool by Karen Katz. It’s a wonderful story told simply so that little brains can understand. Oliver connected to it the first time we read it and in anticipation of his first day of school, we read it together.
When he went to bed, he started having second thoughts. “I don’t want to go to preschool! I don’t want to go to preschool!” He got the first day jitters. But when he woke up in the morning, he looked at me and said, “I do want to go to preschool, mommy! I do!!” His face was bright and excited. He was ready.
We made him his requested breakfast, a waffle (we put a little extra syrup on it) and a glass of milk. He chose his outfit, a blue striped t-shirt and khakis. We brushed his hair, packed his lunch (which he asked about a million times to make sure we didn’t forget) and we headed out to the bus.
It was raining so he had to wear his rain coat but it didn’t stop us from documenting the day.
Then we went to our bus stop and waited for the bus, something Oliver was so excited about. Which bus was going to come first? He kept looking and running. Finally, our bus came and we were on our way to school.
We got to the school just 15 minutes later. Oliver was excited to see the cat that lives next to the school. So excited, in fact, he sat down in a puddle to give it a kiss through the glass. Fantastic!
Then we got into the school, signed him in, showed him his cubby and where his water bottle and lunch box would be kept. Then he turned to us and said, “Bye, Mommy Daddy! You can go to work now!” And off he went. The teachers told him to give us a kiss and hug goodbye and he did.
Of course, I cried like a baby. My little boy was fine and I was the one in tears. But isn’t that how it’s supposed to be? Part of me was crying because this all happens so fast. My baby is growing up. But the other part of me was crying because I made it! I made it to milestone #1. And let me tell you something. I like it. I like it a lot. I plan on being here for all of the milestones to come, from kindergarten to grandchildren. I’m not going anywhere.
Do you hear that, cancer?