Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Kindergarten: Beginning or End?

I wrote about the unofficial start to kindergarten last week. Today was the real deal. Does today's milestone mark the end of a beginning? The beginning of an end? Is it an end of sorts or simply a new beginning?

Bird was a champ, even humoring me, posing for photos. He was silly, excited, anxious, and delightful. I think his Batman lunchbox gave him super special powers.

Me? I should win an Oscar for Best Performance by a Mother Dropping Her Son Off for the First Day of Kindergarten.

Mac Daddy, Deal, and I accompanied Bird to school. We drove separately since Mac Daddy had to leave to head out of town. The boys rode with Mac Daddy, leaving me with nothing but NPR to distract me. That was a tall order for BBC News Hour today. I silently wept to myself, not even wiping my tears with the back of my hand. Not the full blown heaving cry, but tears that trickle and sobs that whisper. Five years flashed before me in a nanosecond, which is about the amount of time it seems has passed.

I spend much of my time butting heads and wills with Bird and I admittedly threaten to put him on Ebay an awful lot (I have said that I would pay someone to take him. Mother of the year, material, I know). I even put him in time out on his birthday, but that's another story. However, at the end of the day, he is my kindred spirit. I feel his pains and joys like they are my own because he is me. I see myself in his every action, word, grimace, sneer, chuckle, pang, aha moment.

And so I wept for the hiccup of time I had with my son before he turns his wings to glide elsewhere. My wingspan no longer enough for him.

Bird positively galloped down the steps and hung up his backpack as if it were on the hook in our own mudroom. The kid didn't miss a beat. I ran ahead to dutifully fulfill my shutterbug responsibilities. I nuzzled my face into his hair and shed some more tears. Super silent this time, lest I project my anxiety onto him. Bird was hesitant to sit at his table at first, but one look at the gecko eyeballing him from the neighboring table distracted him enough to take a seat and stare back. We hastily gave our kisses, hugs, squeezes, words of encouragement, more kisses, and were on our way. I peeked through the forest of little heads and snapped a photo of Bird cracking up while cozying up to his tablemates. That kid lights up when he has an audience.

Cue Niagara Falls upon my feet hitting the sidewalk. Mac Daddy gave me a hug, said his requisite words of comfort, and left. Truth is, he didn't know what to do with me. Truth is, his world does not change. He'll still see Bird before work, after work, and for the random lunch date here and there. It is my world that changed forever today. It is I who grew the wings and sent them off to fly today.

I swallowed my tears, grabbed Deal up into my arms with an extra hard squeeze, and hit the gym. If there was ever a day I needed Jason to work my ass to a pulp, it was today.

I am not worried about my Bird at all. He will make me proud and have the guts and gumption to be and do more than I did.

And me? I'm anxiously waiting for 3:45.
Kindergarten: Beginning or End?SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


Caroline said...

"And so I wept for the hiccup of time I had with my son before he turns his wings to glide elsewhere. My wingspan no longer enough for him."

Ok, now that I am sopping up MY teas, I'm off to get my kid from school. Sure do miss him right now. Wonderful post, girl.

Anonymous said...

I'm right with you! Just wait until Deal goes off to school. It was easier dropping the oldest off at 1st grade, but I was so sad today!

Your post sums it up so nicely!

Anonymous said...

Ok girl, what will you do when they get married? You know it doesn't get any easier, right?

Ilina said...

Chris, you know I am in for a rude awakening. I better start a) getting a life, b) letting go, c) finding a good therapist. I thought this stuff was supposed to get easier, man! You are my hope.

Anonymous said...

I knew that kid would do great his first day. He always rises to the challenge. Besides, the awesome thing about elementary school is that you can pop in to get a kid fix from time to time. And the best part is, at the end of the day, they're so glad to see you! At least for a few minutes.

Just wait till middle school - I felt like I was sending my little minnow off to swim with the sharks!

Aunt Becky said...

Oh yes. I felt the same way when my Ben went off to school. Breaks my heart just thinking about it.

What!?! I have SOMETHING in my eye! I have ALLERGIES.

The Over-Thinker said...

Aww! Poor kid! (I mean you) :)

I hope each day gets easier for you!

Carol said...

Oh bless him. What a big boy. Love that his lunch box gave him super powers.

Worry not the ebay threats flow freely in this household.

Unknown said...

Hi Ilina,

Thanks for sending me the link to your post. We obviously feel exactly the same! When you mentioned your son's got a gecko in his classroom, I thought: Hey, my son's got a gecko in his classroom! Where is your son at school?