(L to R: first day of pre-K 2006, first day of kindergarten 2007, first day of first grade 2008)
First grade. The baby’s never been too traumatized by starting school. On his first day of preschool, waaaay back in 2004, I cried the whole day. How could I not?
Last year, when he got on the bus to go to kindergarten, I cried. I was used to the whole school thing, but that was the first time I had, you know, put my kid on a big vehicle with a stranger.
This year, all systems go. No tears. No anxiety. We’re old pros. The only hiccup was that we have a new bus company and a new bus driver this year and they apparently do not believe in the dry run. They were a half hour late and apologized profusely but dude, you could have scoped this all out yesterday don’t you think?
So, I was late for work and the husband was late for class AND we had to swing back past the bus stop because I left my coffee mug there. Which is funny because as I was setting it down I thought, “I’m going to forget this here. NO! I won’t. I will force myself to remember it.” Which I did. When we got back home. I would have been distraught if it was lost forever since my dad brought it home for me from Caffe Ladro in Seattle and he made a big deal about it.
But all is well.
I’ve been thinking a lot this week about the first day of school that I had back in 2001, when I was about 6 months pregnant. It was rough. I was 22, grappling with a lot of emotional difficulty, on top of feeling not very cute. I remember walking past the clothing stores and lamenting all of the cute fall clothes that I was missing out on in favor of some barfy selections from JC Penney’s lackluster maternity line.
I stuck out like a sore thumb at school, squeezing myself into writing desks and letting my professors know that I was due right around finals. I huffed and puffed up and down the steep stairs of the Cathedral of Learning. The other students stared or ignored me.
The next semester I could be spotted toting my baby with me to my advising appointments or frantically trying to stop my milk from soaking my entire shirt.
Obviously, the baby can’t remember any of this. But I think that in some unconscious way he remembers me sucking up my usual fears and social anxiety in the face of a really awkward situation. I hope that that courage will stick with him through many more first days of school.