Dear Oldest Child,
Ah even the addressing of this letter brings me tears. You, you in your stoic, internalized, methodical, old soul ways have survived, NO, thrived on your first day of Kindergarten. New school, new teachers, new environment and you have digested it all and come out stronger.
We went to breakfast just you and me. You had been up and dressed with your backpack on and anticipating the day two hours before we had to leave. You asked questions, you talked, you opened up to me. You told me about how your stomach felt a little funny. That when you get excited, unsure, and a little nervous your tummy "does this thing".
We had breakfast, like WE do on your first day of school. I know you remember the two years it was just mom, dad, and you. I know that you love bro and sis but you long for that one on one. We don't get that much. When we get out- just you and me- I love that I get to see you. You're growing so fast and you are so smart. You show responsibility, character, and love WAY beyond your 5 years. I see me in you and it swells my heart because so often you and daddy are one and the same that I forget you are like me too.
My sweet baby boy, when I asked if you'd like to order your breakfast when the waitress came over, you were confident, soft spoken, and you ordered for BOTH of us. Such a gentleman. It was such a joy to watch you color and to participate in the word search. You are so smart that by the time we got the third word crossed off you were reading "hippopotamus" and finding it while I was still in awe of your dimple, the way you held the crayon, and soaking this moment in.
Our food came and you grabbed your fork and knife and cut up your chocolate chip pancake- because 1st days of school call for the most special of treats- plus I ordered the fruit salad for us- I've got your back always. You grabbed the syrup and before I could "mom" you about how syrup is more sugar and you already had chocolate, you said "And only a little of this" and you did, you only swirled the littlest amount.
Son, I ate because you were, but all I wanted to do was listen to you talk and have breakfast for hours. You made sure I knew I had a special orange slice just like you did and why do they put it there and why is it called garnish? I can't always answer your questions but I will promise to slow down and hear you more. I commented maybe to not eat all that pancake because you might get a tummy ache. You know extra full stomachs and nerves might not be a good combo.
You at just a bit more before you asked for a "food taking home container" because you were full. We walked to the car and I was grateful you let me hold your hand. You are so responsible but I love that you let yourself be just as silly. You made jokes and faces out to the car.
We had one stop to make before school and I was reminded of how awesome it is getting some time with just YOU! On the way to school you had "that tummy thing" and I reassured you that it was OK to feel nervous, it was ok to feel however you were feeling and that you were confident, brave, and courageous.
I told you I would stay with you until you felt relaxed in class. You asked me to stay until the work was over and we could leave together. I compromised with staying until you felt comfortable for me to go. We parked at the school and walked over using the crosswalk. We talked about the crossing guard and the job he had, the kids playing on the playground, and the grassy field. We saw familiar faces that passed by.
I hoped you'd always be kind and make everyone feel welcome and seen. One of daddy's friends came up and could see your body language. "You a little bit nervous?" You held my hand and silently said something. He told me to enjoy it- the hand holding as his kids beelined to join their classmates. I've been thinking about what happened next and I AM both proud of you and a bit sad. You're more brave than I have ever been my whole life and it's the realization that you'll continue to grow without me that stirs so many emotions. You saw your class circle around. Two kids, then four, and one more.
Your teacher called you out. "Wyatt" she said "So happy to see you." You turned to me and said " I think I AM warming up"and
I urged you on to go with your class but inside I was wondering how it had been 5 years almost 6 since you were born and all those times I wondered when I would "get a break" and how having you in school wouldn't change us and I wasn't going to be sad at your independence. AND AND AND... and all of that went by too fast because with that hand release I knew you were "cut out" for this world and you had so much to explore that even though you are quiet and sometimes apprehensive you are bravely curious.
Your school lined up by grades and your principal said a welcoming speech, the new students were blessed, and prayers were given to the teachers, parents, and students. We did the flag salute. I bent down so you could hear my voice but there you were hand over your heart reciting it by memory. When did that happen? It was over and you turned to me and said "I love you, you can go now, I AM fine." I smiled- I was equally happy you "had this" as I was sad that you "had this".
I know this is Kindergarten and you still need me but it reminds me that the more you grow the more I have to let go and allow you that growth. These are the days. THIS was the day the old wisdoms caught up to me. I didn't cry then, No, I didn't. I went home did the normal routine with sissy and brother. Grocery shop, lunch, prep, and time to pick you up at noon. Not bad. This was just like Montessori preschool I could do this!
I called my "school mom" to make sure I followed protocol for pick up. I did not want to mess up the first day. Carpool lane- check. Road block removed- check. Drive turn right- check, I see the swarm of kids pouring out the door. I see your teacher. I see your class. I see YOU. My heart melts. You're so handsome. Uniform on. Big backpack. Smile on your face looking for me. You run to the car and I get out even though it's against the rules but I have to hug you.
Buckling in I ask you about your day and before I can finish you belt out "It was awesome!" You talk about it the ride home, at lunch, the whole time actually. You talk about it when dad gets home, dinner, and before bedtime. You told me there were a lot of grades. There were like 100 class rooms and there were 40 grades so you'd be there for at least 40 years. Then after that you go to high school at a different place and after that it doesn't matter. No more school.
I was hoping you'd ask to live at home while you went to school for 40 years. Kidding, sort of. I mean really kids, what is the logic in this? You drive me insane, up the wall, to the point of tears and you leave for 5 minutes and I am missing you to the point of tears.
In your absence I remember how awesome you really are. You rock son. I AM so lucky to be your mama. Daddy and I talk after you sleep and we feel relief for how much we stressed about where to enroll you. All our hopes and dreams to nurture your brain and heart inside the home and out, we feel reassured with your first day excitement.
I have to pause your letter now bud, because its the second day of school and I set my alarm 30 minutes before school pick up. So that I can load bro and sis and be early in that car pool line. So I can get in a good spot to see you. So I can run at you and hug you because I miss you. 3:00 is so many more hours past the time I normally pick you up. Plus I can't write on wet paper...My tears are watering your growth buddy. Mama needs to learn to grow too. Congratulations on Kindergarten.