Well, we all made it through the first day of school. Come to think of it – not only did we make it – we passed with flying colors! (Or at least that’s how I’m choosing to grade ourselves, which you have the right to do when you are just shy of the big 4-0. I just made that rule up, by the way.)
Now, I’m not going to say there weren’t a few lumps in the throat along the way. The biggest and strangest lump may have actually been yesterday when I pulled up to St. Andrews to pick up Elena and it hit me like a ton of bricks that Ian was no longer there. Gone were the days of going inside and finding him reading books or doing puzzles with friends on the floor, or finding him running around the gym or the playground outside like a crazy man, pretending he didn’t see that I had arrived and it was time to leave. Or, him asking me what was for dinner while he was getting in the car.
For three years it had been “Ian’s school” and it didn’t seem the same without
him there…even with Elena there now. Of course the ironic thing about all this is that I’ll be saying the same thing about her when it’s her turn to depart the safety of preschool in a few years, but for now it’s all just new and somewhat strange. Not a bad strange….just strange.
Ian, on the other hand, did not seem to be feeling any strangeness or lumps whatsoever. He’s been thrilled about starting kindergarten and getting to ride on the bus with his neighbors. The only sign of any nerves was last night was when Jeff was putting him to bed and he asked if they could “talk.” When Jeff asked him what he wanted to talk about he replied, “kindergarten.” It was then that he let on to his dad that he was feeling a little bit scared, but as soon as Jeff assured him that was normal and that he bet many of classmates were having similar feelings, he seemed good with that and it was back to being all smiles and giddy with anticipation.
Not being sure what the lunch situation was, we made his lunch for the first day and made sure his backpack and school supplies were all in order. At 8:00 a.m. the bus showed up on our doorstep (okay not really, but practically – it stops right in front of our house) and though we were taking him the first day, we went outside to say hi and Ian met his bus driver, George. Meanwhile I was busy thinking how surreal it all seemed.
By 8:30 a.m., Jeff, Ian and were parked and headed into school to find his classroom. We were strictly instructed by his teacher that there would be an “open house” from 8:30 to 8:50 a.m. where we could feel free to help our child put away their supplies, lunch and find their cubbies. Then we were to say goodbye and depart. Well, according to my watch, we didn’t even get the full 20 minutes before we heard a kind, but firm, “Okay, parents, you are ‘free’ to start saying goodbye now! We have a very busy day ahead.” I thought about challenging her regarding how busy they could really be on the first day of kindergarten, but on second thought realized that may not be the best way to get off on the right foot with Ian’s teacher. Plus, this lady clearly runs an organized ship and I liked her already. I mean, how long did it take her to do all that labeling in the classroom? Geez. I bet she definitely shops at Michaels!
But really, I think what best sums up the whole experience is when I knelt down to hug Ian and say goodbye. I wasn’t crying, but again, definitely feeling a little sentimental as we enter into this new stage of our son’s little life. And while the little girl next to us was clinging to her mom crying and begging her not to go, Ian looks me straight in the eye and says, “When are you guys going to leave?” And, not in a “because I don’t want you to go” kind of way, but more in a “don’t let the door hit you in the….” kind of way.
So, there you go. With that, we were off to work as our kindergartener grabbed a puzzle and found himself a seat at the table next to some of his new classmates. I’m pretty sure he didn’t even see us leave.