The baby becomes a boy

Published 3:27 pm Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I told everyone I was going to be just fine; I wasn’t going to cry.

But as we walked into the Brewton Elementary kindergarten building on Monday morning with our 5-year-old, I was overwhelmed by a memory: the hallway where our son will spend his first year of school smells just like my own elementary school. I guess it’s a mix of wood floors and the ghosts of kindergartens past.

That first day really was just fine; we parents sat in tiny chairs and learned about our children’s schedule and lunch money and reading assignments for about an hour while the students watched a cartoon.

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But even after years of daycare and pre-school, nothing quite prepares a parent for kindergarten. It was the second day of school that got me. How did my sweet baby become a little boy — fighting tears himself — as he stood in a classroom with his backpack and Ninja Turtle lunchbox?

So, yes, I cried. I cried all the way back to the car, and I cried when I got to work and was asked how it went.

It helps, of course, that we trust our school and its leadership and that our son has such a kind teacher. We are shaped, so much, by those early years; I remember learning to read in kindergarten — and by second grade I loved to write, and I haven’t stopped.

I can’t wait to see what ideas and dreams bloom in my son’s mind during these first years of school. But, oh, how I still wish I could stop time, just for a bit.