It seems no matter how ready we think we are for these milestones, some curve ball always gets thrown our way. My little man isn’t so little anymore – I just dropped him off for his first day of “big boy school.”
We had crossed off every item on the shopping list. He has the “coolest ever” Hot Wheels backpack (it came with a free car toy); the perfect lunchbox; and enough pencils and glue sticks to last a lifetime (or two weeks in a kindergarten classroom). I painstakingly printed his name on every one of his belongings, all the while knowing that would be a fruitless effort to avoid the lost and found box.
He was so excited to be following in his sister’s footsteps. She was telling him all about how exciting school is and all the new things he’d get to do, new friends he would make, etc.
I parked outside the school and we all walked in together for the first day. My daughter, in fifth grade now, casually waved and ran off to join her friends – she’s already too cool for us. My little man (I can still call him that, right?), strutted proudly into the building and marched me back to his classroom, ready to face the world.
Then reality set in, and he was a bit scared for me to leave him there in such a new environment. His teacher helped him settle in with the other boys and kept him occupied coloring a picture while I made my exit – sometimes that distraction is necessary. But where’s the distraction for mom, leaving my youngest on his big day? It’s not easy for us parents either!
But I told myself I was going to keep it together, and I did – until I got outside and ran into another teacher who knows my daughter quite well (her being such an outgoing child, it seems everyone knows her!). She stopped me and asked “your little one isn’t here already this year is he?” and of course I told her it was his first day.
We chatted a little about how they grow up too fast, and how siblings can be so different – I told her that he was a little hesitant and she remarked about his sister's independent nature.
And then she told me this: “Don’t worry. It’s clear you are the best thing in your children’s lives.”
That’s what did me in. It’s nice to hear that someone else recognizes my efforts as a parent – maybe even more so when it’s someone with whom I don’t interact often, but my children do. I must be doing alright if even the one who is “too cool” for mom makes her teachers think that.
Oh, and as for the boy, when I later asked him how his first day was, he answered “AWESOME!”
Stacy Lamb of Apex is the divorced mom of two. She is an active member and former organizer of Single Parents of the Triangle. Find her here monthly.