I drive away from the school. Glancing back in the rearview at the sweet, simple buildings that make up the boys new elementary school. I gave Sam a last hug and watched him follow his line like a duckling. His new Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Wanslow, is in the lead. He looks so small. This morning I put on waterproof mascara for this very reason. I can feel the tears welling up in my eyes. This is my baby duck. The last one to enter Kindergarten. I am awash with how deep this feels.
I have been telling everyone who will listen that this is the first and last year that all three of my boys will attend the same school. This first day was a bit crazy. I haven’t even met Zach and Alex’s teachers because the morning bell is 8:10 for everyone. I wish I could triplicate myself, so that I can stand by each of them. Since I needed to see Sam off on his great voyage, I had to trust that the “big” boys (who are anything but that, in my mind) could fend for themselves. The classes line up on the blacktop behind their classroom numbers. The teachers come out at the bell to escort them to their respective classes. So I had to leave Zach at his line with a hug and a whispered “l love you”. Then I had to do the same with Alex.
It feels as though Zach has grown so confident over the summer and so sure of himself. I was not nearly as worried about him as I was about Alex. He looked so shy and uncertain standing between the kids in his line. I suddenly felt as though I had just flung them into the cold foamy waves of the Pacific, and as I looked around at all the other kids milling about, shouting, laughing, talking with each other….they all looked like sharks circling my babies. The rare, North American Bully Sharks that the media has focused upon in such great detail of late. Those sharks with their high tops and bling; their swagger and show. They made me want to rush back over before that bell rang and pluck my boys from the lineup and race with them back out to the car. Maybe I will homeschool…I will organize their social interactions, I could do that…I will save them from the inevitable sharkbites which loom in the near future in this torrential sea of public education.
But then the bell rings, and I give Sam his last hug. I watch him turn and wave as he follows his teacher into class. I walk quietly to the MP room where the principal and various parent clubbers are giving a meet and greet for Kinder parents. It is informative and distracting. I don’t need the waterproof mascara afterall, I think proudly. I find out all the dirt on drop-offs, pick-ups, uniforms, bell schedules. Finally, it ends and I walk out with an armload of paperwork to fill out. The van is horribly, achingly quiet. That telltale lump begins to form in my throat. But I am excited that I will be able to work in each of the kids classrooms this year. I haven’t really been able to do that since Zach was in preschool. I have signed up with the LAPC. No, not the Los Angeles Peace Corps, but rather the Luigi Aprea Parent Club. So I think I will be busier than ever. But still, as I drive away, and the Flagpole grows smaller and smaller in the rearview; and the van is still so painfully quiet; and I have driven a full block without having to say, “That’s enough!”…..the tears begin to well again. I think I chose wisely with the waterproof mascara.
Much love to all,