First day of school facts:
- 11 minutes – round trip.
- He wasn’t nervous a bit – until we pulled into the parking lot.
- He looked just like all the other kids (good uniform choice by Dad 🙂 ).
- I cried all the way home – and then some.
Whenever we have to let him embark on a new, scary journey without us right there — whether the scary is for me or for him, it feels good that I can almost always totally keep it together until he’s on his way and can’t see me. Then and only then do I allow myself those moments of fear (terror?), sadness, and angst. At the same time though, I’m so bloody proud of him that I just about can’t stand it; he’s faced this thing HEAD ON with damn near no fear. I had to change schools when I was younger, and it scared me to the moon and back every time; hell, it scared me like that when I had to change BUILDINGS for the next grade. Not my kid. My kid doesn’t bother with the fear until he’s walking into it head-first. I don’t even care what the reason is for that. I’m still in awe.
I’m proud of us as parents for working hard to prepare him, for making him feel safe enough at home that he feels he can take a new journey without risking everything, for being there to explain things as they happen – even if it requires us dragging it out of him that they happened, for not rolling him in bubble wrap before he goes out the door. Baring illness or tragedy, the hardest part of being a parent is letting them open the door and walk away, no matter where they are going, but especially for something new and untested, something that could hurt them. And yet, there is something about that moment that has always been very natural for me, something inside me that knows I not only have to do it but have to be supportive and encouraging while I do, even while promising to stand right there the entire time he’s gone, no matter what, so that he knows where he can find me. I won’t lie: It HURTS. It brings physical pain through my body and soul like my blood is seeping out through my skin, my heart is being wrenched from my body and dragged away from me while I watch. And yet, because it is for him, it’s easy.
I love you, son.