Wednesday, September 05, 2012

First Day of Kindergarten

So John started kindergarten yesterday.

It was a hectic and emotional morning for me. We were on time -- spiffy uniforms, crisp, new backpacks, grocery bags stuffed with crayons and paper towels, Kleenex and binders.

(Is it just me or have the school supply lists grown by leaps and bounds since I was a kid? Ainsley needed ten glue sticks. That's a whole lot of glue.)

The older they get, the less they need, but the price tags actually goes way up. You can buy a ream of filler paper and bathtub of hand sanitizer for the price of one graphing calculator. I looked at Tim and issued a simple plea: The calculator, the L.L. Bean backpack, the glasses -- don't lose them, 'kay?

I assembled the lot of it Monday night. As clear evidence of the aforementioned splinching, I briefly found my eyes wandering from the fourth grade supply list to the third grade supply list.

What's this, I thought. I could have sworn John was the only one who needed colored pencils. I realized my error, chuckled at my scattered state of mind, and returned to the fourth grade list. At 10:34 p.m., it dawned on me that Kolbe is entering fifth grade and that the fourth grade list wasn't quite so helpful after all.

What can I say? Splinched!

I scrounged another composition notebook from the diminished stash and went in search of a highlighter. Mission accomplished. Everyone prepared.

Except that I wasn't really prepared.

John walked off in his red polo shirt, his neatly pressed khaki shorts, his new glasses. And I could feel my chest constrict and my eyes start to well. I held it together because John was, well, not quite John. The opening assembly began with a praise song. Everyone in the gym was singing and clapping. John was standing ramrod straight, like a tiny Marine.

After assembly, the kindergarten parents followed the students like a roving band of paparazzi. The kindergarten teacher had a little note for us to read to our children. There was a sticker and a line about sticking together, an eraser and an encouraging word about making mistakes, a Starbust and something about being a star. I couldn't make it through any of it.

He's not the first. He's not the last. But he's John, my only John.

John's friend, Jonah, broke the tension when he found John's name tag on a desk and said, "This one's mine, but she spelled it wrong."

They are a cast of characters, no doubt about it.

John came home happy but just a little put out that he got the soccer ball eraser and not the car eraser and that the older kids were headed for recess while he was headed for home.

I asked him how his glasses were working out.

"Great," he told me. "Without them I can only see pixels."

And I can see a young boy maturing and moving forward to seize life's next challenge (and taking a sizeable chunk of his mother's heart along with him).


Anonymous said...

A big step for both of you. I hope the splinching phenomenon settles down for you soon. I am hopelessly addled most of the time these days. I found myself wondering, "Does 6 comes after 5?" at work the other day. A bit too much stress!

Kris said...

Just wait until Ainsley goes to kindergarten.....!! You won't know whether to do the happy dance or cry like a baby. Or both.