The Perfect Grandson goes to Kindergarten

No Telling

School supplies are bought, labeled, and stowed neatly in a backpack by the door. The Lightning McQueen lunchbox is packed and chilling in the fridge. New shorts and a shirt are folded in a pile with clean socks and a handkerchief on the ready.

Tomorrow morning, The Perfect Grandson goes to kindergarten.

He’s a little nervous, but more excited. His classroom looks like jungle with monkeys on the walls, counting bugs in jars, books everywhere. The alpha and omega of his day will rest in Mrs. Lovelady’s hands. He calls her “Miss Lovely” and I think that is a very, very good sign.

I have no doubt The Perfect Grandson will have a sterling day. He’ll come home, eat everything that’s not nailed down, and talk nonstop until he goes to bed. He’s a born-curious extrovert who makes friends on the fly and who craves the how and why of everything. School will be his other food.

Em, on the other hand, is a wreck. I suspect this milestone sneaked up on her like the dirty thief time can be and now here it is, tomorrow. In truth, she’s been weeping off and on for a week. Not because she’s worried or scared that her son will be worried or scared, but because his going to Big School marks the end of something. The beginning too, and that’s a long hall to look down for any mama. When I think about Em’s first day of kindergarten, I’m fairly sure it was yesterday that she went. Maybe the day before, but no longer ago than that.

It’s been 21 years since I walked my baby to her first real classroom. So I understand when Em says tomorrow is the beginning and the end. She’s right. It is.

As a teacher and his Mimi, though, I can’t help but be excited for him. Fresh crayons and sharp pencils and the whole big world to learn. I won’t spend a second worrying about him tomorrow – that’s his mama’s specialty. Besides, The Perfect Grandson doesn’t need hand-wringing. He’ll be having entirely too much fun.

UPDATE:  The day was a smashing success and the young scholar ate all his lunch. How could a boy with shoes as cool as those have a bad day?

First Day of School

No Telling

Tomorrow is the first day of school for everyone in the No Telling household. I’ll meet my nervous freshman comp students for the first time and Em will be all over the same campus taking this and that as she feverishly works at getting that degree under her skinny belt.

Nothing new there.

What’s new is that tomorrow morning The Perfect Grandson will attend his very first day of daycare/preschool. He’s two years old, a charming rascal beloved by all, and has never been taken care of by anyone outside of our close family. Oh my.

You mamas out there know exactly what I’m talking about. Em’s already worked herself up into a pre-first-day state where she envisions the worst – choking hazards, split lips, crying jags – the whole shebang. Why, she’s even thrown herself past the immediate and well into the future. Soon, Mom, he’s going to be in kindergarten, and then high school and then some wench [sic] will take him away from me forever.

And she’s right. That’s exactly what will happen, but not tomorrow. My experienced motherhood tells me that she’ll drop him off in the morning and cry much harder than he will, because kids are funny like that. When class is over she’ll fly to the daycare to hug him more tightly than he’ll want or allow. He’ll show her around, punch his new friends affectionately, come home with a few new words and nasty habits.

That’s how it works. There are women all over the world dropping their womb-babies off with strangers for the first time. All that common umbilical cutting doesn’t make it less excruciating for a first time mama. It doesn’t get any better, I suspect, with the second or the third.

I will not be a part of the dropping off and picking up tomorrow. That’s Em’s moment and she has a right to the love and pain of it. My job will be to comfort a weeping daughter, to give her a solid place to lean when the ground starts slipping underneath. It’ll be all right.

I‘ll make sure to to schedule my own moment behind a locked office door, neatly timed so I come out looking fresh for class. And for my daughter, who will never know I’m not the rock she believes me to be.