NR’s back at school today – a new school, which is a lot to handle when you are little. The new school requires a uniform, so he picked out his navy polo and khaki slacks to wear (out of the red, white or navy polo options) and we found last year’s backpack in the closet. His packed lunch was a special treat – pizza Lunchable (yuck, I say, but I’m not eight) and a homemade chocolate chip cookie. We left the house early so I could find my way there and get photos of him – in front of the school, while waiting in line and while he walked with the class to his room.
He looked so big and so small at the same time. Nervous but still a bit brave, trying to fit into a place that is completely foreign. I promised him a surprise when school was over today and that I’d be waiting for him – right there – when he came out. He smiled and followed the new teacher to his new desk, with the unknown classmates right behind him.
Life is scary for someone little. I saw younger kids wandering the playground, asking teachers where they were supposed to go. Kids carrying heavy backpacks and little slips of paper with a teacher’s name on it. Is this really what we expect of our kids? Independence while they are still watching Sesame Street?
I get scared in new environments, in unfamiliar turf – I can only imagine what it is like for young kids. Oh wait, I don’t have to imagine, I just have to remember. I lived through it. Thank goodness most of it is a blur, but I remember the jitters, the unknown of new faces and a new teacher. It was hard as hell but when you don’t have a choice to get in your car and drive away, you stick it out. Eventually, it gets easier and you get into the groove – until summer vacation comes and you have to start all over again in the fall.
Maybe I’ll have one of those cookies, download the pictures from the camera and just keep my eye on the clock until it is time to pick him up from school. First Day Jitters alright.