All day long I’ve been stalling. Avoiding the task of sitting down and putting thoughts to paper - screen - whatever. I’ve cleaned the house. Made muffins. Paid bills. Bought sheets. Flowering plants for the front walkway that always gets so much sun. Gotten a beverage. And my reading glasses. And now, finally, as the last few minutes of the day tick away, there is no more time to put it off. The day is almost here. Less than an hour away.
My oldest son will be off to kindergarten. Tomorrow.
Tomorrow morning there will be no time to stall. I imagine our brief time together in the morning will slip by, filled with breakfast nagging (from me) shoe retrieval (from them), potty routine and sunscreen and loading the backpack. This year we have a letter to read from The New Teacher before we will careen out of the door and down the sidewalk to The New School for The First Day.
I remember kindergarten. Not the first day, but my teacher, Miss Pearson (later, Mrs. Dadds I believe) at the tiny, red brick Unionville Elementary School in Kennett Square, PA. I remember sponge painting with lovely, gooey, thick paints in vibrant hues, but not what I painted. I do recall squeezing said sponge in an amazing green over the head of a boy named Gabe. He had the most amazing hair - nearly white-blond and curly - in contrast to my long, then-straight brunette locks. I don’t know why I did that but something about the green against that pale hair was intriguing. Apologies to Gabe, if you’re out there.
I remember my Dad came to class one day and played guitar and sang. I’m pretty sure I asked him to sing something inappropriate for this particular audience. The song title escapes me but the lyric went:
“Bottle of wine, fruit of the vine,
When you gonna let me get sober?
Let me alone, let me go home,
Let me go back and start over.
Running around this dirty old town
Playing for nickels and dimes.
Time’s getting tough
I ain’t got enough
To buy a little bottle of wine.”
He opted for Puff the Magic Dragon instead. Shame.
I remember naming shapes and colors and stretching out on scratchy carpet squares for rest time. We had snack, sometimes graham crackers and Donald Duck brand orange juice that tasted of the awful aluminum can it came in. I expressed my displeasure at this juice. Miss Pearson was not amused.
Did my mother miss me that first day? Every day? Did my little brother?
What will Lucas remember about Kindergarten? I imagine he’ll never know how much I’ve tossed and turned the last few nights, worried for him, thrilled for him, anxious and terrified and excited for this next chapter in all our lives. I don’t want him to know that I’m brought to tears at the thought of him, so brave and ready to face this new challenge at just-turned-five years, sitting at his desk, eager to please and ready to go tomorrow.
Which is nearly today.
So it’s time. Time to sleep. Time to let go. Time to let him walk through that door on his own. I imagine he’ll be fine. Better than fine. Great, even.
We all will be.