The bell rang in my classroom Monday morning. It was the fifth day of third grade for my daughter, Lil’ K., and the fifth day of my son, Lil’ P.’s Kindergarten career. I hadn’t cried on that momentous first day when I walked him down the hall to his classroom. I didn’t even cry when I left him with his teacher, who he thinks is absolutely beautiful and perfect. It wasn’t until the bell rang on the fifth day that I got teary.
Lil’ K. took off toward her third grade classroom down the hall before the bell even stopped.
“Bye, Mama! Love you!” she said. Just like that, she was gone. I had a flashback to the morning I signed her up for preschool. I had recently read my journal entry for that day.
A Universal Hand hit time’s fast forward button this morning—I signed my four-year-old daughter, Lil’ K., up for preschool. Stop laughing at me for getting all sentimental. I know it’s just preschool. It’s not like it’s (gasp) kindergarten or anything.
Kindergarten is long gone for Lil’ K. The top of her head rests easily on my shoulder when we stand together. For Lil’ P., though, he’s standing at the beginning of his school adventure. As the bell stopped ringing, Lil’ P. wrapped his arms around my waist.
“Wuv you, Mama!” he said. “I’m going to so good that you will never see any bad.” There was a time, particularly the day I signed Lil’ K. up for preschool, when I imagined my son being the youngest child ever ejected from elementary school. His antics gave me lots to write about back then.
While I collected all the paperwork I had brought and tried to carry on a conversation with K.’s new preschool teacher, my eighteen-month-old son, Lil’ P., set about tearing the school’s front office apart. Lil’ K. chased him around a little. He emptied the book bins and scattered them around. Lil’ K. picked up some books and attempted to pretend-read to him. In the meantime, I handed over her birth certificate, her social security card, her immunization record, a light bill, and a copy of the deed to our house.
Apparently, people are in the habit of sneaking little terrorists into preschool. Just then, I caught Lil’ P. in an attempt to scale the front windows. As I pulled him off by the back of his pants, I wondered what kind of paperwork they’d need from me when I signed him up for preschool to prove he didn’t have ulterior motives. Window scaling could be a sign of something nefarious.
But here was my son, five years old, both feet miraculously on the floor of my classroom rather than on my windows. He could gather his things on his own when the bell rang. I always knew Lil’ K. would rock school, even as I doubted poor P. She has been on top of things since her little brother was born, and it was no different on the day I started her school career.
While I filled in the huge stack of papers to get Lil’ K. in preschool, Lil’ P. was attempting to hang from the door handle. Lil’ K. stalked over to him.
She plastered herself across the door breathlessly. “I’ve got this fully under contwol,” she informed us.
Unfortunately, she had to backtrack when Lil’ P. climbed on her head to get to the door handle.
“A little help here, pwease,” came her muffled plea from the vicinity of her agile brother’s scrotum. I pulled him off her and handed the completed paperwork to the school registrar. I looked away from them both as my eyes filled with tears. A new era was beginning.
I thought the first day of Kindergarten was the official new era for Lil’ P., but it wasn’t. On Lil’ P.’s fifth day of Kindergarten, he said, “I don’t need you to walk me to class. I’ve got this. ”
“Mama,” asked Lil’ K. on the way home from preschool sign-ups, “will I miss you?”
“Not at all, Baby,” I said, carefully wiping my eyes. “You’ll have so much fun, you won’t miss me a bit.”
The second bell rang. Kids arrived at my classroom door. I watched Lil’ P. skip down the hall to the new woman in his life. I had just enough time to wipe some escaping mascara. He’s got this. He’s going to rock school. He won’t miss me a bit.
This post is linked to Mama Kat’s Writing Workshop.