You see all those years ago I had a preschool all picked out for Jake. I had researched it, visited it and had his name on the waiting list since he was a year old. It was within walking distance of our house in 29 Palms and came highly recommended. And then the time came to register him and he still wasn't potty trained, which was for this preschool a requirement. I was distraught. Sure, I was a work-at-home mom. Jake didn't technically NEED to go to preschool but he was such a mama's boy and super clingy and I really wanted him to have the chance to socialize with other kids and learn to listen to other adults without me being present. I didn't know what to do.
So I started calling around to other schools, at least ones that I hadn't heard horror stories from. Many in our area were either income-based, which we didn't qualify for or nothing less than a glorified daycare, which again I didn't need since I stayed home. Finally, I found a preschool program through the Parks and Rec department the next town over, Joshua Tree of national park fame. They did require their preschoolers to be potty trained but were willing to let me send Jake to school in a pull-up provided they wouldn't have to change it. Since we were potty training and I (ahem) knew his schedule pretty well, I was confident this wouldn't be an issue. Even better, this program was WAY cheaper than I was planning to pay at the other preschool, granted, it was a 20 minute drive away. Certainly not as convenient as walking distance. But it was something.
And what do you know, being around other kids his age who were potty trained, by winter break that year, Jake was also fully trained. He had adjusted well to being in school and I had no complaints, other than the distance. Still, my plan was to finish out the school year and then switch him back to the preschool I had planned on sending him to all along. However, during this year they had a major staffing and philosophy change and when we went for another visit I was not impressed to say the least so I resigned myself to send Jake to the preschool in Joshua Tree for his second year of preschool as a 4 year old.
Of course, then the following year, I was in a real predicament as now Jadyn was ready to start preschool and the one in Joshua Tree was really the only one I could see sending her to. She had friends from siblings in Jake's class. I knew the moms. I knew the teachers. I liked the program. The more time we spent in that direction, the more we longed to move closer, not just to the preschool but to the town and cities below that were more populated and had more ammenities and didn't have quite so many military families (because saying good-bye, watching people constantly come and go gets hard after awhile).
And so as everyone knows, last spring we bought a house in the neighboring town of Yucca Valley where I can get Jadyn to preschool in 10 minutes right after dropping Jake off at his school. We have so many friends here. Some of the best we have made while living in the area were made from the preschool. It's crazy to think that the whole reason we ended up in this house was because Jake wasn't potty trained that August he was supposed to start preschool. Who knows, maybe we would have decided to move anyway but it does make me wonder.
Boy oh boy, am I feeling nostalgic. Last week, we made our VERY LAST PRESCHOOL PAYMENT EVER! After 4 years! It felt good. But that's when it sunk in. This is it. After taking my kids to this preschool and being around all of these parents (some of whom have been there for the same 4 years), it's all about to end. Jadyn will graduate at the end of the month and then just like that, something that has been a part of my weekly routine for 4 solid years will end. It really is the end of an era. I know I will stay in contact with the lead teacher and many of the friends I have made there. I know that with both kids at the elementary school, big changes are coming are way. It's just another indication of how quickly time goes by and how fast the kids are growing.
Sending Jake to this preschool was like that sliding door. Was I going to make the train or not? And yet, honestly I can't imagine it having turned out any other way.