The Baby Goes to School

Yesterday, the baby of the family headed to school for the first time.

There goes my heart, I thought.

He’s been talking about going to “big cool” for weeks. His backpack has been dutifully hanging with the big kids’ duds since early August. There were many days we’d catch him walking around the house with his backpack on, saying, “Me go cool!” I was more impressed by the three-word sentence.

You see, the thought of trusting someone else to make sure he doesn’t fall, he doesn’t gag and he doesn’t hit his head was hard to wrap my own brain around. I know his every nuance. Luke and I, we’re like peas and carrots. He and I have been inseparable and when he’s out of sorts, I’m always the one he needs. At his last developmental pediatrician visit (the fancy doctor who measures his developmental milestones) Dr. F strongly recommended he be enrolled in some sort of additional schooling. Yes, he gets four times/weekly therapy, which is equivalent to four hours, but she wanted him to have peer modeling. When I tried to make the case for the peer modeling by his siblings, she just smiled and said, “Momma, you can do this.”

Can I? Should I?

I kept hearing affirmation from so many people – his therapists, his other specialists and many other preemie mommas. The one place that was significantly more reluctant was my own heart. For me, it’s still incredibly difficult to believe that he is almost three. THREE. We’ve been at this marathon of specialists and worry and triumph and setback for three years. How in the hell is that possible?

Last week,  his teachers called and asked to meet with me so we could all be on the same page regarding Luke’s needs. When I discovered who they were, it was as if God was saying, “I got this, Kathryn. I got this.” His teachers have both been friends of mine for many years. Mrs. Anne Marie and I met working on VBS. Her energy and love for children is obvious. She is a firecracker. Luke has met his match with her. And, Mrs. Amber survived a John Paul year in pre-k. Clearly, she can handle anything. Her heart is so kind and I love her positive attitude. To say we hit the jackpot with teachers is, in Vegas speak, like money.

Yesterday morning, he smiled for pictures, grabbed our hands, blew kisses, gave hugs and off he went to the puzzle station. In a few moments I saw the hard work, the prayers and the many dark moments see the fruition of God’s love. Luke is well enough, smart enough, ambulatory enough and tough enough to go to preschool.

What a tremendous gift.

Those tears I cried a few nights ago were gratitude, the ones I cried today were disbelief. I almost painted a sign and handed out fliers that screamed, WE DID IT! But, nobody wants to be “that” mom, so I settled for one last squeeze, a look over my shoulder and my husband’s steady hand as we walked out the door.

Luke, I have no idea what God has in store for you this year, or next year or in ten years. But I know this: your life is miraculous and you have so much to teach the world. Let’s get going, shall we?


  1. Scott on September 5, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Wow! Just an absolutely wonderful post. I love you and Luke so much. I was proud to stand with you as we let him go another step in life without us.

    • Kathryn on September 5, 2012 at 1:47 pm

      We’ve been partners all along. Wuv you!

  2. Brie'n Miller on September 5, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Congratulations Mama! What a blessing! He will do fabulous!

  3. Alli on September 6, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Going through the same thing here with my #5 and you echo my sentiments quite beautifully, esp. the part about letting go graciously and gratefully, and being content right where we are… these are such precious moments and God is so good. On an unrelated side note, can I just say again that those amazing, wonderful, fabulous after school chore charts are saving my sanity!!! Thank you again!!! They have seriously changed the whole dynamic of our home after school. Have a wonderful day. Peace and blessings to you and Luke as you embrace this new part of his life. 😉

  4. Connie on September 6, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    The baby goes to preschool……….I wanted to scream NO NO NO, but you are so awesome you calmed my fears! How can three years go by so fast and yet so slow @ times!? I cried when I saw his picture but he looks so happy that I began to smile! <3 Team Whitaker

  5. Amber Overton on September 6, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    He really is amazing! I’m feel so blessed to be a part of his journey.


  6. Allison@totustuus on September 10, 2012 at 11:03 am

    Came over from Suscipio. These photos are GORGEOUS! God bless your littlest student!

  7. jen on September 14, 2012 at 1:23 am

    in california, the local school district takes over at age 3 so my little one has been in preschool since april. if i didn’t love his teacher as much as i do, i don’t think i would have been able to do it.

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