Friday, September 08, 2006

 

The First Day of Kindergarten

Yesterday was The Boy's first day of Kindergarten. I went late to work to join the family on the walk there.

The weather was beautiful, The Boy was excited, the camera worked, everything went as well as could be hoped. The kids (and parents) gathered outside the school in a courtyard as the teachers waited for everybody to arrive. TB recognized a few faces from his preschool program last year, which helped with his comfort level. The families gathered there were reassuringly multiracial, just like his preschool had been, so TB will get some exposure to reality. His teacher was calm, TW and I kept our composure, The Girl was well-behaved, and I couldn't have asked for it to go any better.

Driving to work after that took real effort. When the mask fell, so did a few tears.

-----------------

Yes, I'm biased, but he's a great kid. He's weirdly wise for his age:

TB (calling me at work): What are you doing, Daddy?

DD: Oh, just catching up on some paperwork.

TB: What do you do with paperwork, anyway?

As taxing as he can be at home, he's a little gentleman in public. He plays enthusiastically and well with girls and boys, and is usually the social glue holding any given set of kids together. He can be disarmingly sweet:

The Wife: What do you want to be when you grow up?

(pause)

TB: A Daddy!

He's ridiculously ready for school, and the school is great (and public! And close to our house!). I know it'll be good. TW and I are proud of him. But it's still a milestone, a step in the gradual moving away from the little guy he's always been to the young man he'll be. He's not a preschooler anymore. He's moving into ages I remember.

He's oblivious to all that, of course. To him, this is just the next step. It's a place to make new friends, learn new things, have fun, go on field trips, and just get out of the house. (Keeping all that boy-energy in the house is a challenge beyond measure. How TW does it without going postal, I don't know.) He'll come home with stories about boogers and school lunches and kids throwing up; we'll experience the joys of navigating the public K-12 bureaucracy (they have no idea who they'll be dealing with – Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!); The Girl will gradually sneak her way to that age. Soon it will be quotidian reality.

I just didn't know it would be this soon.

Comments:
Being a daddy is the best gig going! Good luck.
 
Congratulations on surviving this tremendous milestone!
 
When my husband's daughter was born, he was talking to an older father and saying, "It's scary, for the next 18 years I'll be responsible for her!" The older father said, "18 years! It's the rest of your LIFE, man!"

Congratulations to TF (the family)! :)
 
When my oldest son started kindergarten, I cried when he walked away.

After school, I picked him up and took him for ice cream to talk about his day...(a ritual that has lasted to this day)...He very sweetly asked me if I cried that morning, when I admited that I had, he asked if I planned to do so everyday? I said, "No, I think I'll be able to keep it together from here on out". To which he replied..."Good Mom, be/c the kids will make fun of you if you cry everyday".

So, I don't cry. I dont' want to risk it. Ok, I dont' cry where they can see me. He will start middle school next year, wonder if there will be a sale on Kleenex?
 
I know and remember exactly what you're talking about, particularly the idea that they've moved into an age that you remember. Wait till the first parent/teacher conference. For years I felt like an imposter of sorts, like they should be talking about MY grades, not my kid's. And the feeling never ends. I dropped my oldest at NYU two weeks ago and it was FREAKY to be the mom in the dorm room, rather than the kid waiting for her parent to leave. Definitely bizarre!
 
Aw, DD, this is very sweet. My niece started kindergarten this year, too, and LilBro went through much the same stuff that you are now enjoying. I love this entry. Congrats to you and TW!
 
Aw, welcome to the rest of your life. My two are up and out; one has graduated from college (an elite Massachusetts women's college, magna cum laude graduate in English with honors, she's working for $8.25 an hour at Borders of course), and the other is at Pitt. You are so going to love the next 12+ years. Soccer, t-ball, chorus, plays... oh golly. All the small moments that you will treasure and that mean so much to them. Have fun. I certainly did.
 
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