At kindergarten orientation last week, David’s teacher gave us a sheet of questions to answer about David; something to help her get to know him.
The first question was, “What three words would you use to describe your child?”
I thought for a while. He’s kind, a good friend. Really silly and funny. He loves art and is very creative. He’s very smart, analytical, and curious. He’s independent and can get frustrated with things he doesn’t master immediately. He likes dinosaurs, paper airplanes, swimming, and his cousin Caleb.
Maybe instead of three words I should just attach a separate page? Or maybe email the teacher with links to my 12 favorite “David” blog posts? Or just start a new blog for his teacher about David, enumerating his qualities?
I exhibited great restraint and wrote, “Creative, determined, leader.”
Then Tom suggested “earnest” and I shot him a look so intense that it knocked him over from across the room.
Today we sent David to school with a brand new hair cut, a wiggly tooth, and his daddy’s business card in his shirt pocket. He is so ready. He’s ready socially, and academically. He’s excited, confident, prepared, and has expressed zero apprehension.
That’s how HE’S doing. But me? I’m a mess. The day before kindergarten I was talking to a mom friend and said, “Tomorrow is David’s first day of kindergarten.” And then had to follow with, “I’m sorry, but I’m about to cry.”
I don’t recommend being pregnant when you send your first child to kindergarten.
Actually, I blame pregnancy hormones for all these tears but the truth is that I’m always sentimental and emotional about milestones. (And also, kindergarten is awful.)
I want to be clear, I’m also super-excited about kindergarten. I KNOW it’s going to be great. My emotions aren’t because I’m worried that something terrible will happen (ok, I’m 10 percent worried that something terrible will happen), but MOSTLY because I’m sad that this phase of life is changing.
At bedtime the night before school, David asked if we could go look for RVA rocks in the morning. I said no, because he had school. And then I had to excuse myself to go cry in the other room.
THAT is exactly why I’m sad — life is changing. No more will David be with us for trips to the park in the morning, playdates, or spending the day at home tearing apart the house. This is a new season. It will be good, too, but it is new.
Before you try to remind me that my kids go to preschool, and isn’t that sort of the same? Let me remind you two things:
- Preschool is not the same. My kids are in preschool for like nine hours a week. It’s nothing
- I cried on the first day of preschool, too, OK!?!?
Also, THIS IS A HUGE MILESTONE! I won’t be convinced otherwise. If there’s anytime to be sentimental, THIS IS IT!
I’ve loved these years with my kids at home. Yes, they’ve been exhausting and frustrating and all that, but it’s also been amazing. The past six years have been hard and they certainly haven’t been perfect, but they were our life; me at home with my littles. All that’s about to change.
I keep seeing memes and Facebook posts with countdowns to the first day of school, celebrating the FREEDOM of having your kids out of your house. I can’t relate to that at all. Maybe I will one day, but not today. Today I don’t understand where the past six years have gone, and school is awful. (I probably also don’t relate because I’ll still have two littles at home; it’s my most independent, helpful, responsible kid that’s heading off to Mordor.)
This is David’s first day, and a first day for me, too. David will always be my first child, paving the way with me by his side, just as unsure and inexperienced.
When David was born I’d never even dressed an infant, and I did everything with hesitance and a little fear. Kindergarten is the same. I’ve never done this before. So I’ll show up at the bus stop early, over-analyze snack guidelines, and double-check his backpack again just in case.
God has been so good to us in the past six years; Jesus has grown and matured David into a confident, kind, hilarious kid. I’m trusting that God will continue His good work in David, and that he’ll use this milestone to grow David’s faith. And me — I’m trusting that God will help me believe that I’m not David’s ultimate provider, protector or savior. And that’s a good thing.
I will be nominated for an Academy Award for my performance at the bust stop this morning; for swallowing the persistent, enormous lump in my throat, and blinking away the burning in my eyes.
My kid, I’m so proud of him. I know this year will begin a new, wonderful chapter, and David will thrive.
David marched straight to the bus, and just before he got on I hugged him. I wanted to remind him of the two most important things. I’ve been telling him all week leading up to kindergarten to remember just two things — that Mommy and Daddy love you, and Jesus is with you.
But I couldn’t. I knew that if I opened my mouth I would cry. Instead I smiled and waved as the bus pulled away, praying that of all the things he’s learned in the last six years, those are the two he already knows.