Well, we did it. My husband and I were actually able to leave our Kindergartener in his classroom for his first day of school. Our little guy was so big and brave and even thought he was feeling nervous, he had a really good first day.
The part we all like best about Kindergarten is walking to and from school every day. It is by far the best part of little Sister's day. I usually have to pick her up out out of her bed (no more long naps for her!) and plop her right into the stroller. Shoeless and tousled, she loves to see Brother come out of the school door. My favorite part is when I see his face light up when he sees us standing there waiting for him, and then to watch him give his teacher a high five (and sometimes a hug) goodbye.
Then, we walk slowly home, listening to the first tidbits of what happened that day. It usually starts out with what he had for lunch and then we get the scoop on which friend was nice, which was mean, who got a "frown face" in the classroom and who said something really funny. Later, after a big drink of water and a snack, my son will usually pretty much give me the rundown of the entire day, which I absolutely love. He gets so excited while he tells me about each story, each song, each picture he drew.
These are sweet days, full of firsts, and also full of lasts. The one moment that I will always remember from this week was at our son's "Meet the Teacher" afternoon when we got to take his school supplies to his room and meet his teacher for the first time. We were all a little unsure as we maneuvered the crowded cafeteria to buy our school "spirit" stuff (you know, t-shirts, yard signs, car decals - the works.)
Our little guy held my hand tightly as we walked down the long hall toward the Kindergarten wing. I looked down at him. He seemed nervous, but determined. I held his hand a little tighter, proud of him for being so brave. But, just as we entered his classroom, I felt his hand drop out of mine. He had let go.
My heart at the same time dropped, and swelled because I realized that it was time for him to go it alone. It was time for him to step out into the great big world, not a lot, but a little bit. And, I realized that he was ready.
I had told him earlier that week, when I was tucking him into bed one night, that I was feeling a little nervous, too. Mommy was about to have to meet a bunch of new friends, and new teachers and I didn't know exactly what to expect or where to go when we got to the school, either. But, I told him, we'll say a prayer and ask God to help us. Then, when we get to school we'll figure it all out together and everything will be OK.
When my son let go of my hand as he walked into his Kindergarten classroom for the first time, he reminded me of how simple it really is to have faith in yourself when you have faith in your God.
I don't know if at the age of 5 you really know exactly where your "guts" come from. But, as he walked, determinedly, into that school room that day, I saw a confidence in him that was new. It was the confidence that I have been praying for, his Daddy has been praying for and that many of you have been praying for. I saw in him a confidence that comes from knowing that somebody "has your back" and I'd like to hope that even at the tender age of 5, we've taught him that he always has God, and that God is always there to help him.
So, while this week may be the last time that my little boy will hold my hand at school or around his friends (Mommy sobbing slightly) I hope that it's the very first time of many times that I will learn from my son about when to let go and when to walk forward, in faith, knowing that everything is going to be OK.