The day begins nicely...everyone is happy and moving right along in the morning routine...even routines that, now that school is starting, are changing....today, we will get dressed BEFORE breakfast. We will eat WHILE we watch Wild Kratts, instead of cuddling in bed for an extra 24 minutes while we watch. And....happily (surprisingly) everyone is okay with these changes.
7:20. Time to put on shoes, grab his nearly-empty backpack (which means there's room for him to sneak Beary in next to his snack..."Just in case I need to see him." There's also room for me to sneak in a family picture and love note....just in case he needs to see us.), and head out for pictures.
And, whether I'm ready or not....he is.
With confidence, he leads the way to the Bus Stop.
And when it is time....he's off to great places, he's off on his way.
I try, with little success, to keep the tears at bay. I allow myself to be That Mom, who, at the tiniest hint of hesitation before he takes that first big step onto the bus, hurries over to give him one last kiss, one last, "You can do it! I love you!" Of course I do. I only have this One Time to send Evan to Kindergarten for the first time. This is it. Do it right.
And we do...we must, because, just before the bus drives off, we see his little head pop up into the window...and his hand waves goodbye...
Sam is off to work, then, and the three of us who remain just sit for a minute, looking at each other. "I miss Evan," Max says, for the first of many times that day. "Me, too, baby," I say. 7:42 am. It's going to be a long day.
What's so different about Kindergarten?
I had kissed Evan goodbye for a long day away from me three times a week for an entire school year before now. It's not just the goodbye...it's not just the long day....it's the feeling that this is the first day of the rest of our lives. We go to School. Or, for the next 18 years at least, when Molly will graduate from High School. We are a family with a school-aged child. And then? School-aged Children. For the first time, Evan will spend nearly as much time away from home as he does with us. And as he grows, that time away will, too. Until, like my parents did on the same day that I sent my boy to Kindergarten, we bring our baby to college. And then he'll find a nice girl to marry and I'll only see him every other Christmas or Thanksgiving.
See how my mind works? It's not pretty in here.
The day, however long it feels, is sweet. My two little ones decide to tag-team nap which, ordinarily would have been highly annoying, but today feels right. I spend Real Time with each of them, one-on-one and catch a glimpse of another positive (besides the obvious benefits of Going To School) in this New Life of ours.
But Max is mopey and by the time 2:35 finally gets here, I am, too. Sam is home and I'm anxious to get to the Bus Stop to meet our Kindergartner...even if we are 15 minutes early.
But we have a cute baby and a lovey big brother to help us pass the time...
He's home! And all is right in the world....
He had a furrowed brow as he got off the bus. We ignored it, though, as we did school altogether. We gave a few "We missed you, buddy!"'s and "I love you!"'s, but that's about it. We knew we would have all weekend to let the stories start spilling out...and they did. It didn't take long. But Friday afternoon was about decompressing (mine and his) and playing.
Turns out, the grumpy face was because, after he boarded the bus in the afternoon, it remained parked for awhile before it headed home. We knew it would....the bus drivers were checking their rider lists and doing roll call, making sure everyone was where he or she should be. But I think it worried him...and then when they STILL weren't driving home, it annoyed him.
But he had a GREAT day in kindergarten. We heard about a new friend (Jack) and a new marble maze (that's wooden "but not, like, plain boring wood. It has deSIGNS on it that make the marble do interesting things"). We heard about a teacher's aide (Mrs. G) and the library (where there are "thousands, like more you can ever imagine" books). He told us about some of the class rules, including the class sign for "I need to use the potty!" ("because you don't want to shout it out so someone in another state could hear you when you need to use the potty"), and to be so quiet and listen when there's an announcement over the loudspeaker ("in case there's a skunk in the building and we need to shut our door really quickly").
And...AND...he brought home his first project: The Kissing Hand. He even let Mrs. C PAINT HIS HAND for the project. AND he colored in a heart.
Yup. It's going to be a great year. What a great kid.