For the past month or so, I have been experiencing some real angst about my oldest son starting kindergarten.
It’s an odd phenomenon for me, considering I’ve been saying for years that I couldn’t wait for them to go to school.
I’ve been walking around with a lump in my throat and crying to friends when they’d ask if he was ready, if I was ready.
I worry about him because he’s sensitive. He gets his feelings hurt easily, and lately we’ve had a few issues with older kids being unkind. I worried that he’d become a follower. Followers get into trouble. I worried that he’d lack confidence, and let kids push him around. (Very few of these were rational concerns, mind you.)
I set my alarm early enough to wake, feed, get him dressed and pack a lunch for his first day. I heard my son get up 15 minutes before my alarm went off. I could tell he was excited. I was panicked.
He was chatty. I was nursing a puffy-eyed hangover from crying the night before.
He was hurrying. I was dragging my feet.
He had his bag packed for days. I had waited for the last minute to get the paperwork, lunchbox, camera and checkbook together for the day.
He smiled and posed bigger than ever for the “First Day of Kindergarten” picture.
I suddenly remembered all those people, who had told me I should enjoy every moment and the time would go by in the blink of an eye. They were right!
My husband drove us the few blocks to school so that he could go on to work afterwards. Upon our arrival, we ran into familiar faces from the neighborhood, who told us how much we would love this school and love my son’s teacher.
We met, as directed, in the cafeteria, where all the kids were to find their teachers and walk to their homerooms as a class. My son’s teacher remembered him and his little brother, names and all, from the previous week’s back-to-school night.
As we were waiting for the kindergarten classes to line up, I heard a retching sound and a splash. Before I realized what had happened, my oldest son let out a shriek and said, “I’ve got puke all over my shirt!”
I was shocked to think that he had such a great poker face. That he’d seemed so calm, and only announced once we were at school that he “might be a little nervous.” Never did I think he was nervous enough to vomit all over the school cafeteria on his first day.
But it wasn’t my new kindergartener at all. It was my 3-year-old that up-chucked all over the first-day clean floor of the cafeteria.
In an instant, the entire morning came rushing back. I had to wake him. He was crabby. He chugged the better portion of a 32 oz. glass of water. He whined the whole time we were getting ready to go. He didn’t want to get out of daddy’s arms all morning. Of course, he was the one that puked!
My husband took my youngest home in the car. I promised to follow shortly on foot after I cleaned my oldest and prepared him for class.
I waited and commiserated with another mom. We followed a few steps behind the little kindergarteners as they made their way to their new school home for the next nine months. I took a few pictures of my son and his classmates trying to find their seats, and decided it was time to let him go.
After a trip to the office for some school business, I made my way the few blocks home with that familiar lump in my throat. I was relieved, surprised and a little proud that I hadn’t fallen apart.
That is, until I got home.
Amy Grace is married with two children. Read her Fridays on momaha.com