Five years ago, I registered my daughter for Kindergarten. And, five years ago I also held my newborn baby boy in my arms. Together, we watched my daughter take those brave steps into Elementary School. Other moms tried to prepare me for the Monumental Moment, advising me to attend the “Boo-Hoo breakfast,” reassuring me that the day would fly by, and that she was ready. But, really, I wasn’t worried. I knew she was ready, and either I was too overwhelmed with a toddler and newborn at home, or I was ready, too. We bought supplies, picked out a first day outfit, took the ceremonial first day picture, and went about the business of Starting School. I even skipped the Boo Hoo Breakfast. In fact, I didn’t Boo or Hoo at all.
When I picked her up that afternoon, she was slightly disappointed that she didn’t have homework, but more disappointed that she hadn’t learn to read that very first day. I told her it would come in time, that most things do. And so began the many lessons of patience that year would bring.
It wasn’t long before we began to realize the reality of the School Calendar, and how completely that Calendar ruled Family Life. School ALWAYS started at the same time. Every Single Day. Not only that, but School was open Monday THROUGH Friday, and there was very little gray in that routine. As the mom of a kindergartner, toddler and baby, that routine became a grueling checklist of quickie breakfasts, foamy toothbrushes, leaky bottles, and quick seatbelt snaps (with fingers more or less out of the buckles). Those hazy blurred mornings truly rocked my Mommy World. Having been a teacher, one would think I would have been prepared, but Elementary School was just a completely different ballgame. In addition to the added daily routine of family chores, we added School chores, including reading homework, Scholastic Book Fair Forms, Field Trip Permission Slips, and the dreaded Behavior Folder. Looking at that folder was the least favorite part of my day, everyday. In fact, by the end of that school year, my middle child truly thought a simple three tab folder was in fact called a “folder signed.” Enough said.
Needless to say, it was a huge growing year for our little family, and we have continued to grow as my older son began school, and both “big kids” have graduated to new grade levels. And now, somehow it’s time to register my baby for the world of school–for Kindergarten, and I just don’t see how that is possible. This time, I don’t know if I’m ready. Kindergarten Round Up is in a few short weeks, and I can’t imagine him carrying his lunch tray, walking in lines, learning to read, and bringing home that dreaded “folder signed.” Those things seem too big for him, and should be saved for all those other “Big Kids.” In fact, as I type this, I can feel my throat closing, and tears welling in my eyes as I think of buying his school supplies, filling out his permission slips, and snapping that first day picture.
I have a sinking feeling that the Boo Hoo Breakfast will be an all day buffet for me this year, but deep down in my sappy heart I know he, too, is ready, just as his siblings were, to take this big step into his Big Boy Life. He’s been looking forward to this his “whole life”—to join the world his Big Sister and Big Brother belong to, and, as he takes those eager first steps, he’ll think he’s finally made it.