Tomorrow you begin kindergarten.
It’s late. I’m working on my computer, IPod blasting in my ear, while your father watches Whale Wars on television, his favorite object tattooed to his hand (the remote). The house is relatively quiet, and all I can think about is in a few hours I will be putting you on the school bus for the first time.
I am so glad you are excited. You actually put yourself to bed early on your own so you will ready for tomorrow. I’m a bit concerned about your lunch, though. I know we purchased the cool Shrek lunchbox with the button on the belly that makes him burp, but what are we going to fill it with? You only eat two things: turkey sandwiches and peanut butter and jelly. Tonight, you proudly informed me you did NOT like peanut butter any longer. Only jelly. I tried to explain the importance of protein but you didn’t seem to want to listen. So, I wrapped up a turkey sandwich with the crust cut off and wondered if you would eat that for the next approximately 200 school days because I have a feeling you won’t eat in the cafeteria. But we’ll discuss this later. At least we rounded it out with applesauce and chocolate Teddy Grahams (4 grams of fiber in a box – yeah!)
We placed the bright blue balloon on the mailbox so the bus would know where to stop. Of course, the paper sign we were supposed to hang around your neck is not strung with the colorful homemade yarn the other moms will have. Sorry, dear, we never purchased it over the weekend, so you will have a bright green fishing line around your neck to proudly state your bus route. I’m sure you don’t mind.
I also have 4 LARGE bags of supplies. I never knew that little kids needed so much stuff, or that public school didn’t mean free. Let’s hope you get some use out of it.
I’m sorry for the fight we had over your clothes, sweetheart. I spent a million dollars buying cool t-shirts and matching pants/shorts. We bought two pairs of designer shoes because they looked really cool and I wanted to make you happy. We have Thomas the Train underwear, Spiderman socks, and new Scooby Doo pajamas so you can be happy sleeping the night before. This did not mean you can pull out your whole drawer and pick out your ancient stained homemade shirt you made in pre-k and proudly tell me you were wearing it to school. I tried to be reasonable, but you were always quite stubborn, and the idea of the horrified stares your outfit would elicit on your first day would be too much for Mommy to bear. So, after an hour of fighting, we seemed to compromise on the Superman t-shirt (still not my first choice to show up in 100 new school photos) but I can be flexible.
I know you are going to love school. You are so eager to learn, and you know who you are, even at 5. You are ready to move to this next step, and I am proud of you. This is a big step for me too, the beginning of a long journey helping you grow up. My job is to get you there with as minimum amount of pain and stress as possible. So, I sit here tonight, knowing when I wake up in the morning I will put you on the school bus for the first time and wave as you drive away. I will entrust you to teachers and hope you make friends. I will take my first step with trusting I did a good enough job building a foundation for you to leap off.
I hope you remember some of the moments to share with me, but have a feeling you will give me your quintessential shrug when I ask my million questions. When I try to narrow on a topic to achieve any thread of information, you will probably just say it was “Okay.” Or your other motto, “I don’t’ remember.”
None of that matters, though. I will be waiting at the bus stop at 3:00pm to welcome you home. I will always be here to welcome you home, no matter what journey you embark on. I know there will be many; some exciting, some heartbreaking, but I will be here when you need me, or when you remember something you would like to share. This will always be your safe place for as you long as you want, until one day, you make your own way in this world as a man and create your own safe place.
But, for now, Mommy is here. And Mommy loves you.