I just stood there as the door closed behind me. Honestly I felt a little lost. For four years we have done life together. We have experienced every new thing side by side. I was there for his first word and first step. We have spent countless hours together learning how to master the potty. I got to watch him eat ice cream for the first time and go to his first movie. I almost had a heart attack the first time I saw him digging a hole BY HIMSELF on David’s excavator. We have read books, baked cookies, built forts, dug for dinosaur bones, and chased chickens. We flew together to Alaska twice and drove to Camp Livingstone in TN as a family. I was there his first Sunday of “big boy class” at church and watched him thrive in Cubbies on Wednesday nights. I have entertained endless questions and never-ending conversations about trains, tractors, and trucks. We have done almost every day together since he was born.
Yesterday I watched him excitedly waltz into his new classroom. He never whined or cried; he kissed me goodbye, sat down in his seat, and started playing with the kids. I had to fight the urge to sit down and set up camp. I so wanted to be a fly on the wall and watch him soak in all the newness of this giant first in his life. But deep down I knew he needed to do it alone. So, I looked over my shoulder one last time…
Don’t get me wrong, I am glad he felt so at home; but part of me wanted him to need me a little more, just a little longer. I kept waiting on the call that he was crying uncontrollably for Mama, but it never came. He did fine without me and was just as excited to go back and do it all again today.
Even as I write this, the tears that I experienced all day yesterday just keep coming. Even though I have known this day was coming, and I have intentionally prepared him to be ready, I never imagined how hard it would be. We snuggled for about an hour last night and he told me everything about his day. He lit up as he shared about coloring shapes and playing with all his new friends. He excitedly threw his hands up as he described the slides and other outside and inside toys. He sang one of the new songs he learned and leaned close as he told me he even got to dance. “F has two little lines and a big one,” he told me, “and a P has a big line and a curve. Then there’s that letter that goes up and down and up and down and makes that mmm sound.” His face danced with joy as he talked on and on about everything he learned and did. He was even excited that he got to lay down with all his friends and take a nap!
Last night David and I cried like babies as we were saddened that our little boy is growing up but also relieved that his first day of school was such a great experience. Who knew that being on this side of school was the hardest part!
Everything was made right, though, as I stood at the gate and waited for my little man. As his class rounded the corner, my gaze met his, and without missing a beat, he came running to meet me. I wrapped my arms around him and held on tightly.
My Heart made it home.