Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The First Day

The Boy started kindergarten yesterday. I had been trying so hard to play it cool for his benefit. Everyone around me continued to ruin it by asking if "Mom" was okay and how was "Mom" doing, no doubt putting unnecessary pressure on him that, not only was this going to be hard enough for him, but now he is causing me some kind of stress as well.

I took the day off, knowing that although work would be a good distraction, I needed a day of reflection and freedom to express my feelings rawly (is that a word?) and honestly. The Man made him breakfast and I packed his lunch. I remembered that the lunches my mom made for me were so special when I was in school. On the bad days, it was the only thing that made me feel better. I would sit alone, quietly, and I wept as I ate the peanut butter sandwiches she made, knowing that my mom had touched the food, and even if she hadn't thought about it, I knew it was made with her love for me. I don't know if I have ever told her that, or if I ever could. I wonder if The Boy will ever feel that way about eating the lunches I make for him, but just in case, I intentionally push all of the love out of my heart into the knife as I spread the peanut butter on the bread, hoping that he will be able to feel the difference from any other sandwich I have made for him.

He picked the color combination of his uniform he preferred, a sky blue polo shirt with the emblem of the school embroidered on the chest, and navy blue uniform shorts, complete with a worn brown leather belt, crisp white ankle socks, and brand new sporty Sketchers. He looked so adorable I just wanted to smother him in hugs and kisses. We took the obligatory first day of school pictures in front of the house, pictures of his desk and his cubby, where I snuggled his lunch bag and in my mind I sealed the front of the cubby so that no bad thoughts would penetrate the box and ruin my love sandwich. The Boy would call it "protect." His cubby is "protect."

I think we lingered a little too long. I wanted to drop him off and go, let him start swimming in his new little world. But we looked all around the room at the concepts with which he was already familiar (calendar, weather wheel), and the new concepts (losing your teeth chart). I saw him start to wilt and I just wanted to get out of there. I knew he would be better off without us. He hugged my leg, not in a desperate, screaming attempt to keep me there, but in a defeated sort of good-bye way. Eventually we left. It was the toughest good-bye I have EVER had to say. And I've had to say a lot of tough good-byes in my life.

We went home and I watched a movie, answered some calls from work, and folded laundry. My heart ached for my boy. It was finally time to pick him up. He was enthusiastic as he told us all about his day. The new surroundings, the new kids, the old kids, everything. I don't ever recall him being so animated about educational things. It made me feel so fulfilled for him to have the desire to tell us about his day, instead of respectfully replying with bored responses. A moment I will cherish forever as I know it will not last.

Something really cool that happened is that we went to Borders Book Store on Sunday and I found this book. We read it together, snuggled in one of their cozy red over sized chairs. He really loved the story and asked if we could buy the book. How could I resist? We bought it and then The Man even read it to him Monday morning before school. When we picked him up, we discovered that this book had been the center of their day. They read the book, did a worksheet on it, cut and pasted the story together, and he made his own Kissing Hand with brown paint. It made me feel like a really good Mommy to have picked out that book to read to him and purchase for him.

Today consisted of him acting up before and after school. I am shocked that just two days of kindergarten could affect him in such a severe manner. Apparently I'm not the only one who doesn't deal well with change. It makes me realize how small and childish he still is. He dresses like an adult, so many times he speaks like an adult, and he understands things that are far beyond his age. Yet, he only knows to misbehave as a response to dealing with new feelings and surroundings. We still have so much work to do.

All in all it was a good experience. It's not like I had a choice. I have spent time wondering if it is harder for me to deal with this because he is my one and only. I don't have any other kids who will be having their first day. He is the first and the last. My baby, growing up so quickly and I never will be able to do it again. But I also wonder if it is harder for others. To dread two or more first days of kindergarten! I don't know if I could live through that, knowing what I know now. So now I'm done with The First Day Of Kindergarten, and I can focus on something else until The First Day Of The Next Milestone comes along.


much more than a mom said...

Aww. I am not looking forward to that day...particularly because I'll be teaching down the hall and won't be there. Grandma and Daddy will, but it won't be me. ;-(

Congrats to him - sounds like you'll all do fine!