Wednesday, September 5, 2007

the life of a nino grande

So, Amado is changing schools. He is starting preschool. Jason and I have joined with some other families to found a Spanish-speaking preschool cooperative. Check it out at Its exciting and inspiring, it also means that Amado has to say goodbye to his old escuelita, where he has been since he was nine months old.

We made him a book, about a boy names Amado who is now a nino grande and is going to be going to a new school. In the book, Amado bakes cupcakes for his friends and teachers to say goodbye and thank you to them. Last night, we baked our cupcakes (carrot muffins) and this morning, he put the finishing touches on them by dousing them with canela. He told me he was triste, when I reminded him it was his last day. I wanted to cry.

Man, goodbyes suck. Today, when we dropped him off, we walked into the backyard of his escuelita, and all his amiguitos were sitting around the snack table, waiting for him. They had prepared a big poster for him that said "Adios, Amado, Te Vamos A Extranar". Amado unveiled his cupcakes with pride, showed them around, and took his seat at the head of the table.

Carmen reminded the kids that today is Amado's last day because he is going to a new school.

"No, don't go, Amado!" the kids called out.
"But, we love Amado!" they said.

Im not kidding. It was like a movie. Amado beamed, looking around at his friends, pleading with him to stay.

Xander, one of his good buddies, is mad. He sat at the table with his arms crossed, kind of scowling at the whole situation. I dont blame him, man. This is awful.

The kids continued with their opinions.

"We love Amado!"
"We don't want him to go!"
"Stay at this school!"

Tonito, his other good buddy, was an especially vocal member of the peanut gallery with his statement:
"Do what we say!"

We left as the despedida started, a feast of plain yogurt with strawberries mixed in, a big jug of water, some toast, and special goodbye cupcakes, just like in the book.

I almost cried. Im sure I will when we go back to pick him up at 1:30.

As a mom, you want to shield your kid from sadness, from hurtful goodbyes, from scary new situations, from leaving good friends, from having to move on.

It made me wonder how many of these he has been on the other side of. Maybe some friends he has really liked have had this same party, maybe he was the Xander who sat with his arms crossed, scowling at how unfair it is when someone you really love doesnt come to school here anymore. I wonder if one day, when he was difficult to manage and frustrated easily when he couldn't get the puzzle right, I wonder if he had said a goodbye that day, but didnt have the words at that point to tell me that he wasnt frustrated or mad, but sad because sometimes ninos grandes have to say goodbye to someone they love.

And yeah, I know, we cant shield them from everything. He grows stronger as a person by going through situations that are challenging, by trying new things, by starting something new and being able to do something scary without mami and papi.

I know. But sometimes, I really wish he could be this Amado forever. Two years, two months, and 23 days old - sitting her in the company of good friends who love him, at a place he feels safe, happy and content and proud.

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