It was with great ease that you answered "Yes, yippee " when we asked you the previous weeks whether you were looking forward to going back to school, that your teachers would soon return from vacation. The same ease that you left each morning back to daycare this summer, together with your baby brother. The same ease that you had when you started school last spring. I was and am quite confident you'll thrive again.
It was with less ease that I was looking forward to September 1st. "Return to school" would be my first real test to be a working mom of 2 children to combine a timed rush to drop off on time 2 children at 2 locations, commute to work, work, commute home and pick-up 2 children at 2 locations before deadline. Quite different from having one child in school and one at home while you stay at home yourself or to have both children at the same location with more opening hours.
I smiled at your enthusiasm while I felt stress. Cautiously I mentioned that your favourite teacher wouldn't be your class teacher, but that you were part of the bigger boys now that would be with another very cool teacher. "Yes yippeee" you exclaimed. We counted the sleeps before you'd return and thanked your daycare ladies for their summer hospitality.
Yesterday morning you weren't a very happy trooper to get up. Clingy in your dad's shoulders, you were showing off your increasing morning mood that you inherited from me. Maybe you could feel that something was going to happen...not somewhere vague in the future to cheer at, but today.
You managed some silliness and a smile to pose for a picture inside but the smile was gone at the doorstep.
"You have to carry me a lot" you asked (as we were quite late, that worked out ok to catch up some walking time). Together we descended the street with your face burried in my chest, your small body in my arms. I talked to you about school and the super new class room you'd be in with a staircase inside! Imagine that. I held you very tight in my arms. My little big boy.
The busy enthusiast chaos at the school gate where dressed up teacher/stewardesses with suitcases attached a "check-in card" to your backpack, didn't trigger your endless comments and curious questions. You held me very tightly in silence.
We walked by your old class room, to the new one where we both stood a bit overwhelmed amidst the other parents and children, searching the right spot to drop the lunch box and the back pack etc. while trying to ignore the loud crying of one of the other children. You recognised the children that you hadn't seen in 2 months but didn't run to them to go and play as you used to do. Your best buddy from daycare wasn't there today yet.
I gave you a kiss and intended to move out to avoid a long stretched goodbye, as recommended, but you were holding my finger tight. With another kiss, a wish for a lot of fun and a promise that daddy would come and pick you up, I moved outside but you were still at the other side of my finger. With that finger you were holding a piece of my heart. You seemed so overwhelmed, tired, frozen. I tried to liberate myself in vain but we both still stood there near the door hand in hand.
A helpful older child came by "Hey Kabouter" and had liberated my hand before I realised it. I waved once more while you dutifully followed your new guide.
I left surprised that this start hadn't be such a easy walk in the park as I had expected it to be, for neither of us. Yet I'm confident that by next week we are both back in the routine as if you have always been in the first year of kindergarten. Have fun my little big boy.