Ava's last day at her Mother's Day Out program was spent with mixed emotions.
"School's finished Ava. Today is your last day. Give your teachers a big hug and say thank you." She did. When we left the classroom, she looked at her laminated photo in her hand and asked if she could put it back with the rest of the photos still posted on the wall.
I was sad. Confused. Worried. Happy. And excited for her.
Sad - because I know that Ava wants to feel included with other kids. Unfortunately, the program wasn't like what I had imagined and told her it'd be like. And therefore, I didn't want to give her the impression that this was "school" when there was no academic learning. To hear her already saying, "I don't want to go to school" on different occasions was like sudden static in my head. If this was the impression we gave her of what school was like - then we failed her.
I was also sad because it wasn't THE last day of the program - just Ava's.
Confused - because we were the only parents standing on the fence on whether or not this program was right for us. Other parents seemed to float in and out with signs above their heads reading, "this program saved my life."
But for us... it was difficult to see the silver lining when we found ourselves more stressed on Mondays and Wednesdays. We would have to push Ava out the door, motivate her and remind her that she has fun at "school." Drop-offs were difficult, but by the end of the day, she'd have stories to report while taping her new art project on the fridge.
There were also a few "incidents" that tipped me over and finally realize that we weren't ready to deal with her modeling behavior that wasn't from us... like saying...
"If you don't listen, you have to stand on the square."
"If you don't clean up, you won't have any skit-els."
We of course are left speechless, and nervously attempt to address her proclamations she'd repeat towards Noah - the innocent bystander in the playroom who just wants to zoom past her with his car.
Worried - for the outcome of our decision, and how it will impact her future.
Happy because we won't be late again... and I don't have to stress about her sleeping in or wanting to have fun and run around before breakfast...
Excited - because she has a little brother at home, that looks up to her. And on Ava's last day of school, he waited outside for her... so he could split his bag of yummy "skit-els" together...