Letters to Jack: 3 Years, 2 Months

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My dear boy,

Oh my. What a past few months!

It’s been a time of change for our family — filled with some rough times, but also sweet family fun, exciting transitions and 3-year-old towhead who is trying his darndest to pee in the potty.

As of today, we have eight days to get you fully potty trained. You’ll be starting your new preschool in just over a week, now that Grandma B has closed her preschool after more than 30 years. She opened the school when your Daddy was just a little boy and ended it with her last grandchild. Daddy and I are so excited for the good times ahead for her in retirement.

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Our intention was to send you to a different preschool — one more aligned with the Montessori education you (and we) were used to, and one that didn’t require stubborn 3-year-olds to be fully potty trained. The school was 20 minutes from our house, but we could make the drive work because it was on the way to both of our jobs.

However, in November, Daddy was laid off, meaning that the company for which he worked decided he and a few dozen of his colleagues were no longer needed. This was — and still is — a shock to us. The severage package was insulting (in my opinion), and it happened just before the holidays.

We decided we couldn’t enroll you in that preschool we loved, not knowing where Dad would ultimately land a new job and not feeling financially confident to pay the up-front fees and tuition. The idea of finding you an acceptable preschool with an open spot on such short notice seemed terrifyingly impossible.

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But, Serendipity was on our side. We received a call from our back-up preschool where you’d been on the waiting list since April. It’s five minutes from our house and doesn’t require exorbinant pre-enrollment fees. They had one opening starting in January, and would we like it?

While I am so grateful for this turn of events, and love many things about this new school, I have some worries (shocking, I know). Potty training aside, you will be the youngest student in the entire school — younger than Charlie was when he started a new preschool. I’m trying to remind myself that I was just as nervous when Charlie made the transition and he turned out fine. But you’re just so little! Will you be OK without me? Will you be able to keep up? Will the older students let you play with them?

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The curriculum is traditional and very structured. I’ve seen how children, and you especially, thrive in the Montessori environment, and I just don’t like the idea of designated blocks of time for different types of learning. Also, when we visited, the puzzles the kids used were really simple, and it didn’t seem like one of the teachers had any control over the class while we were there.

Ugh, I know I sound like a judgy asshat. I know I need to reel it in. You will be fine. You loved the classroom when we visited, especially the fire truck on the playground and the play kitchen inside. The head teacher seems wonderful and loving. You will be fine.

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Our family will be fine, too. While Dad continues searching for a job, I was offered a promotion at mine. I’ll never forget coming home that night and getting big hugs from Dad and Charlie. Then you ran around the corner, flung out your arms, and yelled, “CON-GWAD-DOO-LAY-TONS!”

While Christmas was more low-key than other years, it was filled with such sweet moments. We went on nightime walks around the neighborhood to check out the lights. Grandma Z helped us trim our tree while we listened to Christmas music. We watched the “Cars” movie a hundred million times. Our dear, former neighbors took us to the Zoo. You rolled the dice for Uncle Pete during our family’s famous marbles game. We all decorated, then devoured, ice cream snowmen at Grandma B’s. You fell asleep in my arms as I sang you, “Silent Night.”

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The list goes on. While there’ve been some rough moments over the past few months, what is always true is how lucky we are to be a family. Regardless of what happens, we have each other.

My dear sweet boy, I look forward to all the adventures — potty, preschool or otherwise — that await us in 2018.

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One Response to Letters to Jack: 3 Years, 2 Months

  1. Barbara Crawford says:

    Sweet and loving, and with your voice so clear. Your boys will know you all their lives from reading these books.

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