When my family got home after dropping me off at college for the first time, my sister saw that my mom was sad. She and her friend from next door went and got The Blue Day Book and brought it to her.
I had planned on coming home and reading The Blue Day Book myself, after dropping Carter off at Kindergarten for the first time this morning.
But it was a short day (only two hours, to acclimate the kids to the school), and it was hot as I wrangled the two other kids back into the van, and then we had to go to Walmart to pick up a few things (out of baby wipes = emergency), and then we had just enough time to go home and feed the baby before heading back to pick Carter up. Also, the book is still in a box somewhere in my living room, not yet unpacked.
The best laid plans…
Anyway, here is how our day went:
This morning we got Carter a good breakfast, and then he got dressed for school. He endured a photo session with me outside, with both little ones fussing, and an unrepentant sun in our eyes. I think one or two came out okay (see above).
Carter’s school offers the option of paying a fee and having them purchase all your school supplies for you. We decided that was the best option because they get discounts, and his list included things like reams of paper and plasticware, and boxes of kleenex, etc, etc, so we thought we’d let them do the shopping.
But this morning I couldn’t send him off with just an empty backpack, so I went in search of a pencil. I found a perfectly sharpened yellow #2 pencil and put it in his bag. I teared up as I told him, “I’m putting this in your backpack in case you need it.”
Then we drove on over to the school. They have a system where parents drive around the school and drop the kids off, right out of the car, to their teachers. But this morning was special. This morning all the Kinder parents parked and went inside with the students to have a donut-and-juice “Cry and Bye.”
So we had a few minutes to eat and hug, and then they called the classes one at a time to line up behind their teacher. There are 5 classes, and his was 4th to be called.
So he kissed sister goodbye.
I managed to fight my way through parents and kids, with Harry and Vanessa in tow, and I snapped a shot of Carter, right as he was walking out with his class.
Goodbye little man. Don’t come home knowing everything just yet.
So then the littles and I trudged back out to the van in the 110 degree heat and did our errands.
I didn’t cry. I thought I would, but I just didn’t. I’m sure I could have made myself get there, but I didn’t feel like it.
When we got home, I opened up an envelope that his teacher had given out to all the parents. This was in it:
Finally I cried. Sobbed. But just for a minute. Because then I had to feed the baby and get him and Vanessa back in the car. Because a mother’s work is never done. But I had my moment.
Soon it was time to go back and pick him up. Long story shortish, I ended up on what I guess is the wrong side of the intersection because the line of cars coming from the right continually wrapped around the corner, preventing those of us coming straight from getting in. I sat in a line of cars and watched the light turn green, and red, and green, and red, and green, and red, without moving at all. Finally I joined the cars abandoning the line and coming from the other direction. I was the LAST parent to pick up her child, and as he got in the car he said, “Mom, you’re late, Mom, you’re late, Mom, you’re late.”
He wasn’t upset- just saying it matter-of-factly, and his teacher said something along the lines of “no, there’s just a lot of cars.” But I still felt like the worst mother in the world.
I cried as we drove away and I told him, “Carter I wasn’t late! I couldn’t get through all the cars.”
He felt bad and apologized for saying I was late, but I assured him I wasn’t mad at him, and that I just wanted him to know that I would never forget him and that I was there to get him on time.
He said, “I know you weren’t late now, so you don’t have to cry anymore.” And when he saw that I was still a little upset he said, “Sometimes when I cry it’s hard to stop right away.”
Me too, little man, me too.
He found two new Transformers waiting for him in his booster seat when he got into the car. I had told him he was getting a surprise. He even guessed what it would be. But surprise or not, he loved them and couldn’t wait to get home to play with them.
So we drove home and saw Dad at the end of his lunch break (first day back for him too). Many hugs were given among the three of us!
Carter told us all about school. They did a scavenger hunt, and he made “lots of friends!”
I found this in his backpack, which he signed with his #2 pencil that I put in his bag:
And cue more tears. It’s been an emotional day, even for hard-hearted me.
So Carter is officially a Kindergartener. Despite the tears, I am thrilled. He was so ready to be out of the house, learning, making friends, having fun, and discovering who he is as a person.
Tomorrow is the first full day. Maybe I will end up searching for The Blue Day Book. Or maybe I’ll be just fine. Carter said he wants to go back, so what more could we ask for?
Love you, buddy. Here’s to your academic future!