“Baby, slow down. The end isn’t as fun as the start. Please stay a child somewhere in your heart.” U2
Hey gang, it’s your old pal @trevorlibrarian here. How are things going? You can let me know later in the comments. I’m still clinging to the dream of publishing at least one post a month here out of the Mountains Beyond Mountains offices. That’s the dream, anyway. (Ya gotta dream big!) Hopefully at some point I’ll be able to get back to a more regular “one a week” kind of pace. I feel the clamor out there from all you clams. (I’m still thinking of a cute name for all the regular readers. Yes, I’m talking to both of you. I considered “Mountaineers”, but is that too close to “Mousekeeter”? The MBM legal department right consists of a “do it yourself will kit” and a jar of vaseline so we’re not equipped for a lawsuit from Disney, although I’m sure Disney is busy dealing with this whole Harrison Ford’s worker’s comp claim to worry about little old us.
Where was I? You got me off down a path there. (what?) Oh yes: peaks and valleys, ebbs and flows: in life as it is in blog posts, the only constant is change…
Speaking of change: this week saw our daughter off to kindergarten. I know: you thought I’d be talking about this new malware that was distributed to everyone in the form of a new U2 album, with the U2 quote at the top and what not, but I need to cover off this kindergarten business first. Just realizing now I could have used a quotation from the U2 song “The First Time” as well at the top. I guess there’s a lyric for every sentiment when it comes to that band, but I digress again.
So yeah: kindergarten: first day.(I mean technically I guess last week was her first week. She went for a half hour one day, then the full half day but with half the class). You may recall my angsty post this time last year about our daughter returning to preschool, but the solace I took from the fact that she already had one year in, and this felt like a “do over”. No such luck now, unless I guess she is terribly slow and fails kindergarten. I guess we can always hope for that.
You’ll be happy to know I’ve kept it together, emotionally speaking, this whole week. I took last Friday and this Monday off so I could walk her over and pick her up. That was more for me than for her. We took the obligatory pictures of her in her new backpack, and she skipped and hopped her way from our house down past the church over to the school. A walk that should probably take less than 10 minutes took nearly a half hour with all the looking at pebbles and picking up leaves business, and why not? We lined up at the appropriate door, and our daughter noticed a friend from her preschool and they couldn’t stop holding hands. I was distracted talking to another parent, asking her stuff like, “What time do we pick them up? Do we wait outside or do we go in? What’s the protocol here?” and so I actually missed the moment of seeing her go up the stairs and into the school for the first time. I could just barely glimpse the back of a little reddish blonde haired girl in pigtails marching confidently down the hall as if she were homecoming queen. The first time I dropped her off at preschool, I just started sobbing, right there in the hallway outside the room. I couldn’t help myself. But this time was different somehow. I somehow knew she’d be okay. She is really outgoing and social, and makes friends so easily. She takes after her Mom that way much more than she takes after me. Recently she explained to me her friend making strategy: “I just go up to a kid and say Hi, would you like to play with me and if they say Yes then we play and if they say no then that’s okay too.” It’s as simple as that, huh?
I haven’t had that moment of sudden solemnness that I was expecting this time. This first time. Or actually this third first time, or fifth, or one hundredth first time of realizing that from here on in it’s all a game of slowly letting go. The difference with kindergarten is that we don’t ever really go into the school (except for meet the teacher nights, and school concerts and what not) so we really are just turning her over to someone, something else and putting our trust in the system. I mean, I’m sure it’s fine. The school has a good reputation and several of our friends went through there and turned out okay. SOME OF THESE FRIENDS MAY ACTUALLY BE SUBSCRIBERS TO THIS BLOG.
When I went to pick her up, she looked the same. Three hours of institutionalized learning didn’t warp her too badly, but let’s give her a few more years and see what happens. She still wants to play “kitty” when she gets home, and she still wants her three songs at night. So some things haven’t changed, yet. There’s a part of me that need her to stay a child, my child, for just a little longer.
So we’ve made it through this first time and like most other first times, it wasn’t nearly as bad or nearly as amazing as you might think it might be before you do it. It was just another thing to experience and now all we need to do is sit back, take a deep breath, and whisper, “onward”.