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Singing in the Car

Originally published on the Huffington Post 08/18/2014

I need a cracker!

I wanted to watch a show!

I'm not ready!

Waaaaaaaaah! These are things I won't miss as I drive my children to daycare/preschool each morning. BUT:

Telling me their stories.

Big Boy counting to 2000 by 20s.

Watching for dogs, airplanes, and buses.

Singing in the car.

These are things I will desperately miss.

Today is the last day that we are driving both boys to the same building for the foreseeable future. Big Boy starts kindergarten at our Jewish day school next week and Little Boy continues his journey in the special education world of our town's incredible public school system. Both boys will theoretically (still ironing out a few details) take the bus (separately) to their schools each morning and home each afternoon. And while we will still drive our children around in our minivan (obviously) -- to lessons during the week and family outings on the weekend, etc., etc., etc. -- this is the end of something very sweet and special and I just need to take a deep breath to acknowledge and hold it.

We took Big Boy to daycare when he was just 3 or so months old. Nearly five years ago.

For nearly five years we have driven to the same building every single morning -- even on days when other daycare centers and schools were closed (Columbus Day, MLK Jr Day, even during winter vacation!).

For nearly five years my children have run (once they could walk) from my car to the door of the building, hiding behind the wall so I couldn't see them, holding in their giggles waiting for me to "find" them.

For nearly five years I have been greeted by friendly faces, who know (or don't know) what's going on in my life, and always smile, support, say nice things, and help start my day off right.

For nearly five years my children have run to the door of their classrooms, only to cling to me as I tried to push them over the threshold. And for nearly five years a skilled and competent teacher has scooped my children up and redirected them into a day of fun and growth.

For nearly five years I have been able to call or email at any time of the day or night (did Little Boy get off the bus from his morning at special education? could you please put sunscreen on Big Boy because he refused to let us do it!) and get an almost immediate response.

For nearly five years -- and through the devastating diagnosis of Little Boy having Fragile X -- parents have held doors for me, carried backpacks, offered kind smiles and hugs when Little Boy's body-throwing meltdowns were too much for me to handle.

For nearly five years my parenting and my choices have been supported -- never questioned -- and teachers and administrators have worked with us to accommodate our children's needs.

For nearly five years my children have owned the center where they attend daycare. We walk together in the halls and the staff (I'm talking like the people who sit at the front desk of the gym!) have greeted my children by name!

For nearly five years my children have celebrated Shabbat together with all of their friends and they have learned about the Jewish holidays -- coming home with art and songs and pride and knowledge.

And so, an era ends, and I'm sad, terribly sad. But also so very grateful for the incredible community and the wonderful experiences we have shared as a family.

And I know this isn't goodbye: not to the daycare center as a whole, not to the friends we have made, not to the wonderful experiences my children will have as they continue to learn and grow, not to our many car rides together, and certainly not to singing in the car.

Onward. Moving forward. Holding hands. Into the future!