Our First Day of Kindergarten

I woke up this morning with so many thoughts going through my mind.
It's the first day of school - for our oldest kid. The exciting and scary first day of kindergarten.

What do I pack him for lunch?
Do I let him pick out his own clothes to make sure he matches?
How long will it take to drop him off at school on the first day?
Do I get dressed now or feed the baby first? 

Soon after I got dressed, I hear Simon's alarm ringing, and my husband reminding him that the glorious first day of school has finally arrived. Simon has been excited for weeks about kindergarten! Simon's first comment of the day, "But it's still dark outside." Poor kid. I hope he still enjoys school once the reality of a full day at kindergarten sets in.

Simon did get out of bed happily though. He started eating breakfast while I fed the baby. The other two girls woke up before Johnny left for work. No tears, no crying - so far a good morning - and we still had tons of time left before I had to drive Simon to school. "I got this!" I thought to myself.

Our sweet neighbor came over around 7:00 to watch the girls while I drove Simon to school. I was grateful to have the first day of school with just him in the car. We snapped his grade picture, we laughed at his ginormous backpack full of school supplies, and we took seven pictures together to finally have one that wasn't photobombed by his siblings.

He couldn't wait to get out the door!

During our short drive to the school, I felt the need to remind him of all the life lessons we've tried to cram into his mind the last week. Simon has never been in preschool; he's always been home with me. The great, big world seemed scarier to Johnny and I than it did to him. Luckily, five year olds don't watch the news.

"What do you do if a stranger asks you to get into their car?" I asked.
"Say no, and tell my teacher," he dutifully responded.

"What if this. . . and that. . . and this. . .and that. . . " I asked him.
He calmly answered every question. 

It was an awkward interview about strangers, underwear, body parts, friends, kindness, following the teacher's directions, and lunchtime. Even though I know he'll love school, and I know he'll make friends, and I know he'll be the sweet kid that charms people, I still worry. That's what parents do, right? Did we teach him enough at home? Will he make good choices? Will he be happy? Please don't be the kid that whines or sets a bad example.

We walked together down his kindergarten hallway. Simon ran into his classroom before me - he was not nervous at all. We found the hanger for his backpack and dropped off his school supplies. After a conversation explaining that he can't play with the Legos yet because he needs to sit in his assigned chair, Simon was all set. Luckily, one of his friends from church was assigned the seat next to him, and we swapped parent photos. This was their first kindergarten drop off too, and I was happy to see them. By now, Simon was already coloring away, and I wasn't sure what to do. Do I just leave? Do I hug him again?

The teacher's aide was ushering parents out of the classroom with reassuring tones of "They'll be fine." As I walked away, Simon didn't miss me. He was fine.

Surprisingly, I was totally fine. As I walked away with our friends I asked out loud, "Am I a bad mom if I'm not crying?" I've dreaded the kindergarten drop off for months now, but this morning I was fine. Will I suddenly burst into tears this afternoon when I pick him up from school, and he tells me that he loved it? Hopefully he doesn't have a bad day, then I'll bawl for sure.

I called my husband on the way to the car. "He's officially dropped off," I announced, "and I'm not crying. Is that normal?" My husband reassured me that I'm fine because Simon is fine. If he had been crying or nervous or scared, it would be harder to leave him. Since he ran into the classroom happy as ever, it was easier to let him go.

Something definitely felt different leaving him in the giant elementary school. Being home without him has been strange too. It's just me and the girls now - who are dressed in princess dresses while they play with Simon's car and plane Legos. 

But I still wonder . . . 
Did I spend enough time with him before he started school?
Did he get the one-on-one time he needed?
(The last couple weeks I tried to give him more time while the girls napped, but I usually took a nap too instead of playing with him. Newborns and tiredness go hand-in-hand.)

Did we baby him too much? Will he be tough enough for school?
What crazy things will be come home saying or doing?
He's out of our protective bubble and out in the real world! Gasp.

Yet, I also know that everything is fine. I feel peaceful. I am excited for him to love school and make new friends and continue growing into an awesome little guy.

I have pizza and a cookie cake ready for dinner tonight. We'll have treats when he comes home from school, and I'll try to give him as much one-on-one time as I can to talk with him about his first day. With three other siblings to care for, I know I won't be perfect. Luckily, Simon won't expect me to be the perfect Pinterest mom. Luckily for him, I'll keep trying to be the best mom I can.

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