Friday was one of those bittersweet days. Jack graduated from preschool. To even send Jack to school, with his myriad of health and developmental concerns, was a huge step for us. Now we can't imagine his life without this school and these wonderful teachers. He is moving on from the place that has taken such good care of him into the wild world of kindergarten. We are both excited and terrified, which is kinda like how we felt when Jack first went to school.
These hallways are Jack's safe place. He is confident at preschool. For a kid with vision issues, it's pretty amazing how he can wind his way through the school to find his favorite spots - the classroom, the gym, and the playground.
I can't tell you how we lucked out on this preschool program. Jack had a very small classroom with talented and dedicated teachers and therapists guiding the way. He really blossomed under their care and when I think back to how uneasy I felt about sending him and his fragile lungs into a school environment, it really could not have gone much better. We surely count our blessings.
Graduation is a special day, with family invited to celebrate each student. My parents, Grams and Cheeks, were able to drive over and that made Jack extra excited.
For the actual ceremony, each student was called up front and Miss Kate took a minute to talk about each one individually. Here she is telling everyone how small Jack was when he started the program three years ago. I am so thankful we kept him there all three years and didn't rush him to kindergarten, just because he was old enough. In fact, I said through teary eyes that I just wish Jack could stay here forever!
Each graduate got a certificate, a cute little medal, and then a rose to give to their mom.
After the ceremony, the teachers had refreshments and just a time for the families to talk and take pictures of all the little graduates. I looked up and realized Jack was no longer in the room. Turns out the minute he found Cheeks, he was all "ain't nobody got time for that!" and took him by the hand and guided him down the hallways, through the gym, and out to the playground. We found him swinging away. Happy boy.
It was a beautiful day, so we took some photos outside. I love the next two. Jack going in for a typical "Jack kiss," which is about the best nose kiss you could ever get.
And one with his best friend.
And Grams even got a rose from Jack, too!
After graduation, we hopped in the car to Missoula for a checkup with Jack's neurosurgeon. It's one of my more anxiety producing appointments, but all the scans looked great. Both shunts are working and we knock on wood that Jack won't ever need a revision. It's pretty much the best when the doc says "see you next year."
It was a whirlwind day, but throughout I couldn't help but feel so tremendously grateful for the gift of school. If only I could have gotten a glimpse of how much Jack would grow and develop because of school three years ago, I wouldn't have worried so much about us making the right decision. Like so much of this preemie parenting stuff, you just can't predict it, and yes, you worry about health because it's a real concern, as well as about fifty million other things under the sun. School was an absolute GIFT, though, and one of the best decisions we could have made.