So. As (all five of you reading this) know, today was the BIG DAY. The day started off normal enough. The first realization I had this morning was that I made a good choice putting Henry in afternoon Kindergarten. He came down the stairs about 5 minutes after the morning bus left our neighborhood. At this point, I don't know how he is ever going to get enough sleep for 1st grade! But I'm getting ahead of myself. I'll think about that next week.
We had breakfast. We played Legos. I cleaned. The kids argued. Normal! Then it was 10:15, and I had to feed Henry something filling and nutritious to get him through the afternoon. I made Henry half a turkey and cheese sandwich with some grapes to eat before he left for the bus stop, knowing he would get a snack at school, but nothing else substantial until 2:30 when he was dropped off back home. It didn't really phase Henry. "Cool! A sandwich!" This is a kind of weird con of having afternoon class, but I'm telling myself it's only one year and he probably won't even notice the difference.
What DID get noticed was Henry getting to eat something. The wee one in the house wanted his lunch, too, but ended up settling for some good ol' goldfish. I'm hoping Wyatt gets the hang of things soon or I shall go crazy trying to explain to him why Henry is eating lunch and he is not.
Moving on. It is 10:40. Henry's bus comes at 10:54. I asked Henry to come over and sit with me for a minute so we could pray together. He was very happy about this and had a big smile on his face the whole time we prayed. Then we took a few pictures!
I know, I know. Cute.
And also, someone loves his brother!
Then we ran out the door to get to the bus stop in time! The bus stop is right in front of our house, so we made it without delay. I will sum up our bus stop experience with two words. Bright. Hot.
Then the bus came! It came to a stop and I turned to my right to talk Henry through the process when what to my wondering eyes did appear?? MY CHILD running up the bus steps with great cheer! I had to gather my jumbled thoughts quickly and yell out "Let me take a picture!" He gladly obliged, while a shorter family member tried to become a stowaway.
Henry sat down in the very first seat. He was the first Kinder to be picked up and all alone on the big bus but he sat down with confidence and a huge smile. Have I mentioned that he has been talking about riding the school bus since he was 2? The sweet bus driver lady shut the doors and Henry looked down at us and waved.
And that's when I started to cry.
My sweet, shy, timid child just skipped up the steps of his bus and waved goodbye on his way to big kid school.
I was dealing with bittersweet feelings of sadness and loss but the little brother was plain out angry. Here he is watching the big cheese wagon that stole his big brother away:
Since it was the first day, parents were invited to come to school and hang out for a bit. Henry knew I would see him there but he didn't know I'd be waiting as he got off the bus. Surprise!
Yeah...I still can't get over this whole school bus thing.
The principal met all the kids as they got off the bus and walked them to their class. There was something about watching all these little guys taking in their surroundings with huge eyes. Oh yeah. It was the fact that THEY ARE STILL BABIES!
Some nice helper lady welcomed Henry and helped him find his cubby.
Then his teacher came over and said hello! She seems really great.
Then the kids could either play with blocks or look at books on the carpet while we waited for everyone to arrive/get settled/etc. Unfortunately for Henry, the bus was a little late getting to school on the first day and clean-up time occurred approximately 30 seconds after he sat down with some blocks. His preschool teachers will appreciate what happened next. Tears. He's never been great at transitions, especially when he hasn't had enough time to complete what he's doing. But he did so good. He didn't make a loud noise, which is what we're all used to. He just looked at me and broke my heart as big ol' croc tears spilled out of his eyeballs and he said quietly, "But I didn't even get to do it." I gave him a squeeze and told him that he'd get another chance and that the teacher just wanted to get their new and exciting day started.
Usually, these moments last a loooong time, as Henry tries unsuccessfully to regain his composure. Today though, he pulled it together and found a seat near the back. The teacher took roll. When she called his name, he raised his hand:
...and then I left. I walked out the doors, but took a quick look back through the window before I took off. My baby looked back at me and with a little smile on his face, he waved.
And here is where I cried again. I waved back, blew him a kiss and made my way back to the parking lot. So many thoughts. So many memories. So many feelings! I am still trying to fathom how he's even old enough to be here. Beyond that, I am completely dumbfounded at his courage and confidence today. We have prayed and prayed about being brave and trying new things and remembering that God is always with us all the time, everywhere... It's like today, it just clicked. For whatever reason, he was just so excited about the whole thing, he just went for it.
Hi, I'm Stephanie, and I'm the proud, proud mother of a Kindergartner.