Our milestone for the day:
Wow. Somehow Mason and I are suddenly part of that club of people who post "first day of school" photos on their social media. We have a magnet clip on our fridge reminding us of fall fundraisers and class contact information and when we're responsible for snack. We'll be receiving information about signing up to organize holiday parties and volunteering for fall cleanup day-- all things that real moms and dads take care of but seem like a very grown up thing for me to do. However, there's no turning back time-- it's real and it's here and honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way. I love having a preschooler--As I've mentioned numerous time, each stage is my new favorite.
This morning, I surprised Charlie with a chocolate sprinkle donut because, well, that's the way we celebrate here in Spahnville. (And truthfully, pregnant women should probably be eating more sprinkle donuts than the APA actually recommends. So I bought two, just to be on the safe side.)
Thanks to some scheduling re-arranging (with a zillion doctor appointments this week), I was able to take Charlie to school for his first day. Normally, his daycare provider will drop him off, but both Mason and I wanted to be there for the big send-off today.
Just after we snapped the photos, Mason pulled into the driveway. "Daddy's here!" screeched Charlie as I was buckling him in. He was so excited that Daddy came home to be part of the action and walk him up to the school building. Mason mentioned that although Charlie was excited, his grip continued to tighten as they approached the school. I lagged behind the two of them just enough to let that lump in my throat find a secure spot-- and I took in the scene.
Though his palms may have been sweaty as we walked to the school building, as soon as we arrived at the blacktop, we found Keira and all was right with the world. These two stuck together like glue right up until it was time to go inside. Even then, they clutched hands and walked in side by side.
Tommy and his bright green backpack walked right behind-- although he declined the photo opportunity.
And there they go.
I admit that I held back tears as I watched them walk through those doors. It's so emotional but in such an exciting way. I knew he was going to soar today-- I knew he was right where he needed to be. He's ready for this step, he's growing up quickly-- but with enough little moments (both endearing and frustrating) to remind us all that he's still our little boy.
This year is going to be monumental for Charlie-- I can feel it. School is just the beginning. He's starting to understand letter sounds and has sounded out a few words while we read-- which thrills him to no end. I'd be surprised if he's not reading bits and pieces in the next year. He seems to love numbers and sequences and mathy type things and of course, his current obsession is dinosaurs which he continues to learn more about all the time. Preschool has been on the horizon for weeks and he's so excited that it's finally here. He's thrilled to play with the tools and paints and blocks in the future. He's excited to learn about letters and numbers and animals and plants. He doesn't seem convinced that he needs fifteen new friends-- but I think he'll get there.
For me, being involved in the school-world means I'm sometimes too aware of what is "coming next". I realize that we've officially stepped onto that continuous moving walkway of ranks and percentiles and peer-comparisons and there's really no turning back or hopping off. We'll be kept abreast of his progress and be made aware of his challenges and we'll do our best to help him out whenever we can. While I know he's a talented kid, I'm not naieve enough to think that we won't have our share of struggles and challenges. I want him to understand how important school is and I want him to embrace learning. I want him to try his hardest and work through challenging material-- weather that's putting together puzzles now or solving math problems with the alphabet in high school.
But more than anything, I want him to be a good person-- even at four years old. I want him to use school as an opportunity to learn and still do good for others. I want him to notice when others are hurting-- and then I want him to offer a hand to help. I want him to respect others, even those who seem so hard to respect. I want him to hold tight to that curiosity and ask questions and never settle for an answer that doesn't seem right. (Unless he's asking his mother ten zillion questions about Ninja Turtles or Dinosaurs or how plants breathe CO2-- all of which I have a very limited supply of answers.) I want him to reach out-- to meet new people, to escape that comfort zone every once in awhile. I want him to gain independence and confidence and grow into a person who is comfortable in their own skin. I want him to be able to do this even when other kids laugh at him or tease him for being himself. I want to shield him from so many of the experiences that I know he will encounter over the next few years-- the ones that are painful and hurtful and hard to understand--- but the ones that every child goes through and must experience at some point. Of course, I know I cannot do this and somehow he'll navigate his school years like kids have done for years. And preschool, is just the beginning. Here's to a new chapter in our lives....