The day finally came when I had to take Nate to junior kindergarten for the first time. Nate’s first day of JK was bright, cool and breezy, just perfect. He had been talking about going to school all summer, especially because a new addition had been being built to accommodate the full day kindergarten program in our community. We had been watching its progress whenever we drove by, so he was anxious to check it out on the first day of school.
Thursday morning was a long morning. I was nervous about taking him over and getting him into a new routine. His teacher had asked us to come at noon that day and to bring a lunch, so I labeled all of his personal belongings and packed his indoor shoes and lunch into his new Super Mario Bros. backpack.
When 11:30 finally came around, we got ready and I took Nate out onto the porch so I could take some pictures of him. He was very excited and energized and we had fun getting some great shots for our memory books and family photo wall.
We headed out and walked hand in hand over to the school.
When we arrived at school we were met by Nate’s teacher at the gate to the school yard. She handed me a scroll of paper tied with a piece of blue ribbon before asking Nate if he wanted to come into the yard to play with the other kids and have some fun. He nodded and gave me a kiss and hug and I let his hand go and away he went. There were only about six kids there for that afternoon so the kids could get a taste of school without being overwhelmed.
I stood at the gate and watched him play in the sand box with some dump trucks until the school bell rang.
The teachers showed the kids how to line up by their classroom door, and then said the words that all of the parents both dreaded and longed to hear:
“Everybody turn around and wave good bye to mommy and daddy!”
The little gang of kids turned around and waved and then went inside the school. My heart swelled and the inevitable lump rose in my throat. I walked home alone, trying my hardest to hold it together until I got inside the house, where I promptly fell apart for about five minutes. In that moment I was so proud of Nate, so amazed that we had reached the school years already and if I may be honest, so grateful for a few hours to myself!
I opened up the scroll that Nate’s teacher had handed me.
When it was time to pick Nate up from school, I went back to get him and stood at the school yard fence watching for his turn to come to the door and look for me. Unlike the other kids who were happy to see mommy waiting, Nate was upset that it was time to leave! He perked up when he realized we could stay at the park where he could play with his daycare buddies like he usually did.
This school year is going to be an adventure for us. Way to go, Nater!