Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Twas the night before school starts...

I am not going to throw up.

I am not going to throw up.


But I'm still going to fill anxious and queasy.

No, I'm not pregnant again. (Thank God.) It's just the night before the first day of school. William starts kindergarten at the Big Massive Elementary School tomorrow morning, and I am having the 11th-hour freak-out about it.

Actually, I started feeling the little butterfly wings of anxiety over the weekend. I've known that the first day of school was coming, but after I surveyed the mounds of school supplies piled up in my dining room, it hit me just how very close that day was.

Then I attended the orientation meeting for parents of kindergarten students this afternoon. Laden with the bags of those school supplies and classroom supplies, I stumbled through the door and realized that, holy mother of God, this is really happening. I took my seat at the little table that will be William's seat and tried to ignore my dismay at the leaking ceiling* above my head and listen to the teacher.

With the yellow No. 2 Ticonderoga pencil that was thoughtfully provided by the teacher, I took notes on dismissal times and lunch ticket prices and snack time and the best way to communicate with the teacher. I glanced around at the other parents to see if they appeared to be handling this better than I was (that would be an affirmative for the most part). I asked a few questions, since I can never truly shut off the reporter in me, and I snapped a few quick pictures of the classroom with my phone so I could show them to William.

Tonight, I got his backpack ready, and we laid out his clothes for tomorrow morning. I read a few more pages of his Harry Potter book to him, and then we talked a little bit about tomorrow. He's nervous. I've been doing my best to 1) validate his feelings while still reassuring him that it's going to be fine, and 2) hide the fact that I'm so nervous. William knows that I was a little nervous about the orientation today, but I tried to convey that I was also excited about it. Was that entirely true? I think so.

So tomorrow really is the big day. My elder child starts kindergarten. He starts school. Not preschool. Real school. He'll store his stuff in a small locker, and he'll eat lunch in a cafeteria. He'll wear a uniform (of sorts), and he'll get report cards. He'll have the option of riding the bus home from school someday if he wants to do that, and he'll be able to say he attends an elementary school. School.

I am not entirely sure that I will sleep tonight. Like all parents, I just want what's best for my child. I want him to be happy, safe, secure and all those good things. I want him to have fun, and I want him to be challenged. Rationally I know that kindergarten is going to probably be a very good experience for him. He makes friends easily, and he loves to learn. Just because I am nervous doesn't mean that there's anything he really needs to worry about. But he's my child, so it doesn't surprise me that he's fretting a little bit. I will continue to do my best to stay calm and enthusiastic, yet reassuring, with him because that's what good parents do for their child.

Even if, inside, they feel like throwing up.

(*The teacher claimed that a work order has been filed. Let's hope it gets addressed quickly.)

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