I knew that the meltdown would happen at some point. One can only survive on adrenaline and café con leche for so long.
My four year old had his first day of real preschool today. He will be attending a charming full Spanish immersion preschool here at the base. His teachers possess the particular loveliness of the early childhood educator. My own mother is a preschool teacher, and looking into the eyes of my son’s teacher is like going home. That is, if my mother was named Juana instead of Judy.
I knew, as soon as I walked into the room, that this was his home for the year. But Joel didn’t know that yet.
To give some context, he has moved from no preschool at all to full-time daycare during the time I was attending the mandatory “cultural relations” class. Now, in his regular setting, he will attend school from 9 to 12, which is much more reasonable for both of us.
But this morning? He was D-O-N-E. Over it. Breakfast was full of fake wails and “duck face” (his patented pout with his lower lip sticking out). “I want my bed!” he cried. “I want my toys!”
Me too, buddy. We’re looking at not having our belongings again until the first week of December. I want my bed. I want my toys.
Despite my kind-yet-firm remarks that he needs to “Get with the program,” Joel pouted his way into his classroom. “Hola, Hol-El” they said, “Buenos Dias!”
Within minutes he was nestled into the strong, soft arms of his new classroom. He cracked a smile. He was fine. Of course he was fine.
Me? I cried in the car. I know living here is right, and I know that we will have the adventure of a lifetime. But he’s four. And I’m thirty-seven. And no matter what, change is hard.
Presently, I am sitting in a cafe. I’m drinking another café, and my heart no longer feels like it wants to swim across the Atlantic to Maryland. Whether it’s caffeine, adrenaline, or the reserves of strength within my dear Joel and me, we are content.
It’s going to be a beautiful day.