When all through the Jarrell house
no boys were stirring, not even my spouse;
Jube’s backpack was hung on the coatrack with care,
full of too many pencils and glue sticks to spare;
And…I think that’s all I’ve got.
I could sit here and come up with a seemingly cute, but actually mean-spirited before school poem (look at these gems: here, right here, and over here), but instead let me just blurt it out: my baby is going to kindergarten and I’m a bit of a mess. I thought I was better than this. I thought I could be one of those super cool parents that feels immense pride, is happy for their kid, takes a picture or two, and moves on. But I am nervous. And jittery. And so so giddy that my Jube gets to embark on the amazing journey that is school (I’m not even being sarcastic. I LOVED school). It all also makes me just a little bit sad. Sad for the sandy sunshine-filled summer days long gone already; sad for the endless days when bedtime was an afterthought and my work was on the back burner. If only our carefree, splish-splashy summer could last forever. If only his preschool days could have lasted little bit longer so that I could have him with me all the time and we could do whatever we fancied each day–even if that meant snuggling on the couch and watching strange youtube videos of adults opening up eggs covered in Play Doh.
Alas, this is not about me; it’s about a five year old boy who beams and slightly brags to his little brothers as we pass his school that “this is my kindergarten” and is saving the new shoes my sister got him from Greece “special for my kindergarten because I don’t want to get them dirty.” All of a sudden, he is prefacing nouns with the determiner “my”—“my teacher”, “my school”, “my class”–as if to verbally solidify his new position in the world. And I’m ecstatic for him. I loved learning, and I can only hope that my enthusiasm for school will get passed along to my firstborn son. But I’m a staunch realist too.
As none of his friends are in his class, I fear my slow-to-warm-up babe might be apprehensive on the first day. I hate to think of him feeling awkward or self-conscious. I worry that his name might cause a bit of a hullabaloo (we are those stupid parents who chose to name our son one thing and call him another. Our “Jube” is actually “John”. Good thing he knows how to spell both but hasn’t answered to “John” since, well, ever). What if his teacher is the kind of adult who prefers gregarious kids (I’ve been around adults who haven’t been shy about their disdain for kids who don’t warm to them immediately—and it makes me want to slowly pull out their hair). But then I remember: He’s just five. And it’s just kindergarten. And I have probably thought about tomorrow way more than he ever will. And he will be just fine (right?).
My husband will get to ride the bus with him tomorrow on his first half day and I will get to watch them ride away as I pack the younger brood into the car to head out to daycare and work. After all, I have students to teach too–and I promise to not favor the gregarious ones with the easy names this semester.
(Good luck, Jubie. Mommy loves you more than the moon and the stars. I can’t wait to hear all about your adventure tomorrow!)