June 27, 2002:
(taken with the first very cheap digital camera we had, so please excuse the poor quality)
And that same creature…first day of Kindergarten:
I did more traditional standing-at-the-front-door shots, but on the way back into the house, they wanted to run. Fortunately no knees were skinned during the photo shoot, and Alex was neat and tidy for his first day at elementary school.
Alex and I drove Julia to daycare and then drove back to the house. Alex wanted to walk to school. So we did – me with my keys, he with his enormous backpack. Holding hands. Looking both ways before crossing the street. Avoiding the dog poop on the sidewalk when we were almost there. Watching all the other families walking with their kids on this first day of another school year.
And no, he wasn’t excited at all – I only had to run (in heels), practically, to keep up with him. I brought him into the gym, as instructed when we went to orientation the week before. There were a few other little backpack-bearing kids sitting cross-legged on the floor along the wall, and a very cheery blond woman took Alex’s name and checked him off the list. The teacher arrived a moment later, greeted Alex and the other kids…more new kids arrived…and there was nothing left for me to do but hug and kiss Alex, exchange stinging high fives with him, flash him a big smile (he smiled back) – and…leave.
I’ve left him before – he’s been going to daycare since he was three months old…but still…Kindergarten.
This is the official start of big kid school.
It’s the next milestone. So many gone by already…so many to go.
I’m excited for him. So much to learn, to explore…he will eat it up.
I wished I could go with him into his kindergarten class.
Just to watch. He doesn’t need me there, however.
He doesn’t need me every moment.
I guess we’re doing our jobs right…preparing him to give us high fives and hugs and go out there on his own. Without us hovering over him, ready to catch him or wipe his nose or clean up his scrapes and tears. It feels, at times, like he was born, we got to hold him for a while, but in the blink of an eye, we’re letting him go…helping him to stand…walk…run…ride a bike…go to school…go out into the world…go his own way.
I walked home alone.
I held my house keys in one hand.
In the other, I held the residual warmth of a stinging high-five. Tightly.