No. No. No. I am in total denial. I can't believe my little Mr. will be in kindergarten in the fall. Well, that is, I didn't believe it until he and I attended kindergarten orientation today. As we walked along the sidewalk in front of the building, hand-in-hand, I just couldn't help but glance down at him.
He looked nervous. He looked like he was trying to muster up the courage to walk through those double doors. If only he knew his facial expressions matched my insides. I didn't want him to walk in those doors and be labeled a 'kindergartener'. I wanted him to be two-days-old, lovingly placed in a carseat, bundled in a sweet blanket, with a giant paci in his mouth, about to go home with a couple of nervous, new parents.
Instead, we were walking through those doors, when he grabbed my hand a little tighter and motioned for me to bend down. He whispered, "Mommy, I don't have to go to kindergarten...I could just stay in Miss M's class. I could stay in preschool...that would be okay." He nodded his head, affirming how good his plan sounded to both of us. I assured him that kindergarten was the next step, and that we might even see some of his preschool friends. He wasn't so sure, and wanted to hang back in line a bit. As the crowd cleared, we could see into the cafeteria full of five-year-olds and parents.
Just as he began to despair, he saw hope in the face of his good friend, 'T'. 'T' smiled big, waved and called out, "ETHAN!" And all was well. There was peace in the smile of a familiar face.
The little Mr. let go of my hand, ran to fill out his cowboy boot name tag, and firmly planted himself next to 'T'. Just as he so boldly accepted his new label, I knew I needed to as well.
Soon after, the kindergarten teachers arrived, took the throng of children to tour a 'real life' classroom and make crafts, while the parents were introduced to elementary school life.
Sitting there in the cafeteria, among parents anxiously raising their hands for the principal to field their questions on safety, peanut allergies, bathroom breaks, and the rules of the 'drop-off' lane, I couldn't help but chuckle a little. Anxious smiles were plastered on all of our faces as we wondered if our little ones were really ready for this. What is this? It seems like a big world masked as a school for children.
You could almost hear the collective sigh of relief, as the children came back into the room (neatly lined up, single file...they learned the routine quickly). Each of them were wearing the carefully created headpiece that is a badge of honor for all elementary school students: the stapled band headgear of craft paper, stickers and crayon-colored letters with their names scrawled across the forehead.
They each stood a little taller, a little more confident having jumped this first hurdle of a glimpse at being one of the 'big kids'. The little Mr. smiled, broke formation, ran over and slid into the seat next to me. He pulled off his headgear, showing me each detail and with excitement exclaimed, "Look what I made in kindergarten!"