By Lydia Holt
I expected to be a ball anxiety and nerves on my oldest son’s (let’s call him A) first day of kindergarten. On his last day of preschool, back in June, I expressed my worries on my personal blog which no one reads but me. I had to get out the feelings but wasn’t ready to share it with the World Wide Web until now.
Last Day of School Already?
Today is the last day of preschool for my oldest son. I know it’s a couple of months early, but I find myself in the grip of anxiety over his first day of “big kid” school in September. I know it’s just kindergarten but it’s the beginning of the whirlwind that will lead all too quickly to his graduation from high school and in another blink, college. P. S. 321 is considered to be one of the best elementary schools in the borough but it’s much bigger than his cozy little preschool and he’s my little guy and…. I’m going to spend the rest of the summer mentally preparing myself for the first day. I want to be so calm and supportive that he’ll walk into his classroom, a little nervous of course, but confident and excited to begin a new adventure.
After the drop-off this morning, I think I can say that I succeeded. A was a little reluctant to get dressed and brush his teeth, saying he was too nervous to go to school but, with a little cajoling from daddy, gradually finished dressing. I helped him tie the laces on his new “awesome” (his word, not mine) Skechers Luminators sneakers and we took pictures at the front door. The whole family, mommy, daddy and little brother, walked A to school and joined the multitude, and I do mean multitude, of parents and students crowded around the school’s entrance. We slowly worked our way upstairs to his classroom and met his new teacher, a dark-haired pixie of a woman named Kate. Her bright eyes and smile were quite reassuring as were some familiar faces from his preschool days. After helping the kindergartners with name tags and a scavenger hunt (In how many places can you find your name? How many book baskets can you find?), it was time for the parents to say good-bye. Although there were tears aplenty (from me, most of the other parents, and his teachers) on his last day of preschool, as we hugged and kissed good-bye, there were no tears from any of us this time around.
3 hours later, on his return from school:
“How was school?”
“It was fun.”
After a little more questioning I got the full first day of school run-down. After the parents left, the class had playtime (in the very familiar school playground, where he scuffed his new shoes, “But that was OK, I don’t mind.”), story time (“I don’t remember the name of the book.”) and a snack (goldfish crackers). A made a drawing of a hiker standing next to Mount Everest, which he informed me, is the tallest mountain in the world, with a sign and some trees. A also made a new friend but can’t remember his name. We put finding out and remembering the name of this new friend on the to-do list for tomorrow.
Now that the school day is over, I wonder, why was I so concerned? I think my initial anxiety around A starting public school came from my own experiences much later in school. Of course, he will have to deal with humanity in all its splendor and horror, as we all do, but he’s not jumping directly into a churning sea of middle school hormonally-induced madness. He’ll work his way up to it just as I did but for now, it’s just kindergarten. Today and tomorrow are only half-days; how will he handle full days? I won’t be there to pick him up after snack time and circle time. He’s going to have lunch and then stay at school for a few more hours! I’ve explained this to him but I don’t think he really gets what it means. Is he going to have a meltdown once it sinks in? Will I? Deep breath in, and out. It’s just kindergarten.