Note: This blog was originally featured on our old website several years ago and didn't make the transition over to our current site. Although it was published on August 27, 2014, we felt it was a good time to re-share Executive Director Meg Revelle's poignant thoughts on the "wave window," used by preschoolers and their parents each year.
One of the joys of my job is watching the two-way exchange at the Arts Together “wave window.” There is a window halfway up the stairwell of the carriage house to our beloved preschool. Many families have a ritual: the preschoolers and the parents stop and find each other through the window. They wave — a wave of reassurance, of goodbye, of “see you soon,” of “I love you to the moon and back.”
This window has special meaning this time of year as it symbolizes so much more than a reassuring wave between preschooler and parent. Early in the year, there may be tears or sadness in leaving…but our preschoolers are quickly encouraged by devoted teachers and soon engaged in rich multi-arts experiences. They are busy, busy, busy!
Children look to us for cues on how to respond. I sometimes watch the parents after you wave to your child. The parents of the older children (you’ve been through this before) smile and look relieved, off to your day or a few fleeting hours to yourselves…I’ve even seen a few of you skipping!
But to those parents who stand there for a moment, look a little shell-shocked or disoriented, it can be quite different. The parents that look anxious as they wave sometimes leave anxious children. This may be the first time you have left your child in the care of someone else. Questions flood your mind: Will my child be treasured? Will they be comfortable in their own skin? Will they grow, imagine, learn to fit in, express themselves? Will they play well with others? Will they be confident and have fun? Will my child be okay? Will I?
Yes, they will be okay, and so will you. It’s not always easy. We all struggle. Sometimes you just need a hug or a listening ear. Trust the process. Expect success.
This will be one of many turning points in the cycle of life with your children. We typically think of a window as an opening, a place for air or light to enter. Another way to think of a window is a “period of time,” like a window of opportunity. A beginning. An end. In the grand scheme of things, this preschool “window” will be a very short time. Savor it.
Late August is always a poignant time of year for me. Last year this month, I waved to my 23-year old daughter as she drove a U-Haul out of our driveway to a new job and apartment in Vermont. She grew up “making a shape” in the Arts Together dance studio and is now shaping her life while still carrying the values she learned here.
A few days ago, I waved as I put my son on a plane back to college to begin his senior year. It seems like yesterday when I left him in his dorm room as a freshman…him, eager for me to leave so he could go meet his new friends. Me, trying my best to be brave and hold back the tears until I at least got in the stairwell. Turns out there was a window there to look out and gain some perspective — on the present and the future.
I hope you and your family will find a home here at Arts Together. Stop at the wave window just long enough to smile, wave and give thanks.
Meg Revelle, Executive Director