Where did the summer go? I feel like I blinked and suddenly it’s September. Similarly, I blinked and my firstborn son became a kindergartener. As you read this, he already has his two weeks of elementary school under his belt. As a teacher myself, I LOVE back to school. I will fully admit that shopping for school supplies makes me giddy and I probably have a strange addiction to pens.
Three weeks ago we went to Kindergarten orientation and I noticed more than a few teary-eyed parents watching their kids get on the bus to check it out. I found myself wondering if I should feel sad. I was happy and excited for the new chapter my firstborn was about to embark on. Let me clarify, by saying that I did not judge the parents who were sad, rather, I judged myself for NOT feeling that way. Maybe it is different for me because I have another baby still at home with me but sadness was not an emotion I felt that day.
On the first day of school, my son could barely keep his excitement from bubbling over as we waited for the bus. I had offered to drive him to school but he had waited for 5 years to ride a school bus and he told me that he wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity. He was so excited that I almost thought he was going to ask to walk to school if the bus didn’t arrive soon. Instead, he bounced around the bus stop looking for a glimpse of the big yellow bus. In proper first day fashion, the bus arrived about twenty minutes late. When the bus arrived, he climbed aboard, put on his mask, and found a seat without looking back. I was so proud of him!
When he got home from school I asked him how his day went and he told me that he got a little confused in the morning when he got off the bus and ended up spending some time alone in his classroom while the rest of his classmates and teacher were gathered in the cafeteria. My first reaction was anger that on the first day of Kindergarten the staff at the school had managed to let him roam the school alone but my second thought was one of pride. My son had not panicked. Instead, he had put away his things, explored the classroom, and then wandered out in the hallway to find an adult. I was impressed that he didn’t let the experience color his whole day and that he took it all in stride.
As he recounted his day and told me about meeting new friends I couldn’t help but smile. Even though he said that recess was awful because the other kids wouldn’t let him play soccer, I could tell from his voice how much fun he had. My heart broke that I couldn’t go with him to solve the playground issue but I was heartened by the fact that I knew he had the tools to work it out on his own.
It’s hard to allow babies to leave the nest but unless we do we will never be able to know what they can do on their own. There’s something to be said for “sink or swim” and every day my son amazes me with stories about his day. I know there will be times when he will trip and fall or come home frustrated or angry but I know he will be OK. As his parent, I will do my best to give him the tools to communicate with his teachers and classmates and teach him how to problem solve. He’s on his way and I can’t wait to see how far he will go.