You started school this week.
This seems a mundane fact to most of the world; children all over started school during the past month. But to me and your dad this is a HUGE milestone.
We’ve been talking about it for a long time, you and me. You have been so excited to start school! To learn! To be a big kid! You have told me repeatedly, “me and Brookie and Evan get to go to school because we are four. Not anyone else. Just us.” Clearly, going to school separates the three of you from the “babies” who will stay behind at daycare.
I was Ok with it all…excited even…until meet the teacher night. We signed in at the office, found your room, and looked around. We sort of met your teacher. She talked to you, and you hid behind my leg.
Then we found your locker.
My baby was going to school.
Four days later, it was time for your first day. Sunday night I carefully followed the directions your teacher outlined in the papers that were sent home: I put a change of clothes in a large ziplock all with your name on them; I labeled your backpack; and I set out your first day clothes.
Then I put you to bed. We talked and giggled and guessed what school would be like until we both fell asleep in your bed.
In the morning, as I was getting ready, you showed up in the doorway of the bathroom. All ready to go, with a big smile on your face.
“It’s your FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!” I exclaimed as I swooped down to hug you. A lump caught in my throat knowing I would not be one of the moms there at drop off giving your little hand one last squeeze.
But your daddy was there.
His work is just a block from your school, so he walked over on his lunch hour to meet your carpool for the first day. He knew it was important for you to have one of us there for such a big occasion–the start of your formal education.
In case you haven’t noticed, your dad’s range of emotions aren’t always visible in his reactions to things, but this milestone has been a big deal even to him. After drop-off, he emailed me to let me know how proud of you he is.
He told me you were so brave at drop-off. No tears, only smiles. Before he left, he whispered in your ear to be kind to the other students and to listen to your teacher…and that he is so very proud of you. Because he is, you know.
Both of us brought up the fact that it simultaneously feels like just yesterday and a life-time ago that you were our tiny colicky mess of an infant. Just yesterday that Daddy would plop you in the Bjorn and walk up and down and up and down the dead end with you to try to help calm you.
And now seemingly out of nowhere, you are a regular little guy. You are a person who can tell us why you are sad or happy or angry.
You can call us mean or tell us you love us.
You can make friends.
You can make crafts.
You can make choices–good and not-so-good.
When I asked you what you did on your first day you reported, “I played on the playground and I listened to my teacher.”
When I asked you what you listened to her say you told me, “I don’t know mom. That was a long time ago.”
And so it begins.
You are in school.
As a teacher this makes me proud, but as your mommy this makes my heart fly with joy.
Today I looked at the seniors in my classroom and imagined them all as four-year olds starting out in preschool and I actually teared up a bit.
It happens so fast.
You were just a baby.
And now you are a kid.
I love you, Eddie. No matter where you go from here, it will be wonderful.