My son has graduated from Pre-K like his sister before him, and our seven years at the Bertha Alyce Early Childhood School (BAS) are coming to an end. I am overwhelmed with emotion at the thought that next year we won't be returning to BAS as a family.
That, as a part of the BAS community, we have experienced our very last drop off and pick up. That I can no longer take secret joy in absorbing all of the beautiful creations that decorate the walls of the hallway and the doors of the classrooms.
That my children will no longer be protected by the loving arms of the people we have together trusted and loved, cried on and celebrated with. That we will no longer see those cherished faces that we have confided in and collaborated with.
I remember so clearly as a new mother, with a child that needed special care, how afraid I was to leave her. I toured each facility we saw taking painstaking notes on the environment, the charting, the cleanliness, and the teachers. I recall coming into BAS and instantly feeling like I had come home.
Still, I was scared. I dropped her off and I mourned the moment, crying in my car, and then calling my husband and crying again. The physical pain I experienced in separating from her was not unique to me, or my experience--but it felt so isolating. That moment feels so distant now.
If I could reach back in time I would tell myself there is no need to worry; she's in good hands. She's with mothers and daughters and brothers and fathers who would hold her as their own.
As a part of this greater family we became a Dluhy and a Rogal, a Mohr, a Silverman/Levy, and a Friedman (to name a few). In the classrooms of BAS my children were the daughter and son of Ms. Betty and Ms. Roz, Ms Debra, Ms. Marie, Ms. Judah, Ms. Sandra, Ms. Leslie, Ms. Suzi, Mr. James, Ms. Cathy, Ms. Maya and so many more.
You see, at BAS we found community. Friends, who are as dear as family. People who held us up during the tough times and supported us as we supported them. I learned as my children learned: what kind of parent I was, and what kind of community member I wanted to be. We grew together.
To me, BAS is a sacred place. It's where my children took their first steps and said their first words. It echos with their laughter. It houses the family that looked after them when I needed to be away. A family that loves them as their own, and that we will always carry with gratitude in our hearts.
While I look forward to the future and the new homes and communities we will build, this will always be our first--and the memories we created here will forever be cherished.