First Day of Kindergarten by Melissa Thorson
I feel like I’m being a bit dramatic about my oldest heading off to kindergarten. My fixation with social media-ing this week needs to pipe down. No one died. No one is moving out the country. But for some reason, sending him off on a bus and not seeing him again for an 8-hour eternity felt like a loss.
The irony is, there were many moments during summer break that I would have gladly sent him away on a bus without even needing to know what time he’d be back. I had met my max of saying “please stop catapulting your sister’s bouncy seat,” “please don’t pee in the middle of our driveway,” “and please don’t use my cabinets as a backboard.”
But then yesterday came. That bus came to take him. And suddenly the 5-year-old with strong energy and an even stronger will seemed fragile. I stared at his face, still sweet with baby chub but revealing nerves. (His lip chewing and fingers fidgeting with his back pack told me.)
The previous week had been filled with good questions. Questions I had to answer confidently so that he wouldn’t know I was nervous, too.
- “What if I have to go poop at school?”
- “Will anyone tell me where to go when I get off the bus?”
- “What’s my teacher’s name, again?”
- “How many hours will I be gone?”
And then there were my questions churning, that no one could answer for me.
- “What if he has to go poop at school?” (Wiping game: not strong)
- “What is he going to be thinking when he first sits down in that big bus seat?”
- “Will his teacher appreciate how funny he is?
- “Is a school lunch going to be enough for him?
- “Is what I’ve taught him the last 5 years enough for him?”
- “Does he KNOW how awesome I think he is?”
On a normal day at 3:30, I’m trying to figure out how much longer until bedtime. But yesterday, I was trying to figure out how early can I arrive to the bus stop without my neighbors thinking I’m embarrassing. When he got off the bus, his face told me it was a great day. I told him to tell.me. EVERYTHING.
“It was a GREAT day, mom.”
“I accidentally got three entrees at lunch, so they told me to put two back.”
“Ask me a yes or no question so that I can say yes in Spanish to you.”
“I tried to talk to everyone in my class, but I don’t think I got to talk to every single person.”
He did it. We did it. Yesterday was practice for much bigger “letting go’s” that are to come. But it was hard practice that made me cry and have a stomach ache. I know in like 3 days I’m going to snap out of this sentimentality and be wondering how 3:30 rolled around so quickly—but for today, I’m going to feel it all for my turquoise-backpack-wearing, triple-entrée-thieving big boy.
Guest Post by Melissa Thorson