First Day of School
First day of school! First day of school! I just dropped my kids off for their first day of school! I began the day jumping out of bed - it's the first day of school! - before both my kids were even awake. That may not mean a whole lot to some of you early risers, but it is a rare occurrence in our house. I am not a morning person. I regularly sleep in/stay in bed well past everyone else in my family. Kids are trained - in the morning they get dad - but today I had to wake them up with nose kisses and snuggles.
Why am I so excited about today? Sure, it's the first year I get to drop both kids off at the same time. At the same place. And pick them up at the same time. At the same place. Yes! Less time in the car, more time to do whatever it is I do all day. Freedom! Jumping for Joy! But what really makes this day one to celebrate is the summer we have had. Going to be real and honest here: it has been rough. Dare I say that 3 months of no school is too long? We made a countdown calendar for the start of school for them as a "developmental tool for keeping track of time". I think we all know who that calendar was actually for.
The past week especially has made me look forward to this monumental day. The kids have argued, screamed, and fought (hitting, scratching, punching, kicking). I mean, the last one I broke up was over an aluminum can (you guys know how common those are, right? There are 5 more in the recycling bin as we speak...). They have had their share of meltdowns. I have had near breakdowns - the ones where you want to pull your hair out, scream and run away. There have been tantrums, cuts and bruises, a gazillion loads of laundry. Someone always stepping on my heels and hanging on me. So many questions. The monotony of cleaning up. So. Many. Legos. But we made it to today! Finally some time to actually put laundry away. Yes. Perhaps I can actually keep this place clean for more than 30 minutes. Yes! Maybe I can use the bathroom without an audience? YES!
We got to school on time. I took the obligatory first day of school pictures, had to bargain for some smiles, but at least they were both facing the camera (parenting win!) Got my oldest to his class and dad took over there. No drama (first time ever!). I walked my littlest into his classroom, where his amazing teacher got down and asked him if he was ready to follow her to morning meeting. He let go of my hand and went with a smile. I stayed with all the other parents for a few minutes before I remembered that I couldn't wait to get out of there. Oh, yeah! My freedom was only a few steps away! I quietly went over to him, whispered in his ear that I was going to go. He looked at me nervously, but then gave me a kiss (his signal that I am now dismissed and excused from his presence) and turned his attention back to his teacher. And then I felt it. That knot in the back of my throat, my eyes burning and tearing up. I was going to lose it. I basically ran out of the classroom and cried.
WHAT?!?! I have been waiting for this moment for so long! What is wrong with me? I think about what else we did this summer. We traveled to new places, made new friends, and explored places we knew well already. We made trips to the pool, to space, to the mountains and the ocean. We went by car, plane, train, scooter, boogie board, and ferry. We had dance parties (with disco ball mounted on our dining room ceiling) and found new loves for camping and hiking and reading. We listened to and told each other stories. We made nebulas and spaceships and rocket boosters and comics and hideouts. Even at the most difficult moments, we came through them together with new ways to speak to each other and new ways to listen.
I thought about how this past 5 years have flown by. My baby is going to kindergarten! And I took a moment to sit with all that is and really listen. It is quiet. So very quiet. And there is no one following me. And no one to ask me 487 questions about what is going on in the world around me. And no one to listen when I narrate about what is going on around me. I look like an idiot when I alert strangers to the train passing by. Or the really big digger. And I miss my kids. Like, really miss them. I finish up what I have to do for the day. And I know when I pick them up from school we will make another calendar, this time counting down the days until next summer.