You'll have to excuse me as I add to the many 'Back to School' posts in your feed today. But this is one of those events that feels heavy in my head, like it needs to be blogged immediately to prevent any of the details from sliding away.
Today Truman had his first day of 'junior kindergarten'---which is the same thing as 'pre-school', '4K', 'pre-K', etc. It was the start of something huge, a new chapter in Truman's life and therefore our lives. From this day forward, he is a school-aged boy, one that will be doing this daily routine for the next fourteen years. Don't even mention what will happen after high school, alright? My mommy heart cannot handle the thought of *that* giant transition. We'll stick to the junior kindergarten transition for now.
For two-and-a-half hours today, I had to let my first born go a little bit more than I've ever done before. Sure, he's gone to daycare and has done plenty of 'big kid' activities without me right next to him. Sure, it's only a few hours and the school is literally across the street. Sure, it's something that every mother has to do with their children; letting them go a little bit at a time. It's something that we've been anticipating all summer long and I've been completely excited and not too sad. Today both extremes of emotions hit hard as I waved goodbye to my Truman, and walked home, and let him start his next phase of life.
I knew the morning would be really chaotic, since Nate wasn't able to take off of work and it was all me with the three kids, trying to get us all organized and out of the door by 8:15. I could barely sleep after 5am and just kept going through the check list of things to do before we left: get myself presentable, feed the kids, assist in dressing, take hundreds of pictures, try not to cry, and so on. Truman and Cecelia both slept in until a mind-boggling 7:15 today which gave me time to get dressed and prep for their breakfasts. They came downstairs and Truman was all smiles---I said, 'Today is your first day of school, buddy! I'm so excited!!' and he was, too.
I only had to crack the whip a few times to get the sleepy heads moving in the right direction. Breakfast, clothes on (and he even let ME pick out his outfit today!), brush teeth, and then picture time. I pulled out the photoshopped sign I had made and explained where everything was inside of his beloved backpack. We snapped pictures on the front porch as we watched all of the cars parking on the street, kids and parents walking to school, a flurry of activity and excitement and the start of a new year. I truly cannot believe it's our turn, that we were a part of this milestone today.
(my usual trick of saying 'Don't look at me!!' which usually causes a huge smile, didn't work like I expected. He actually turned away this time!)
(Oh, but then he flashed me this smile. This is SO Truman with that closed mouth grin, dimple, and half squinty eye)
After a few mediocre pictures (his backpack was too heavy with all of the supplies, my sign was way too glossy, CC was getting annoyed, etc) we walked up the street together. Porter was sleeping in the Ergo, Cecelia wouldn't leave Truman's side, and my big boy was practically skipping on the sidewalk. He asked if his friends were there and I spotted a few of the neighborhood moms, happy that five of his classmates are neighbors that we already know.
We got to the crowd and chatted with friends, and then Truman's teacher started coming around to check everyone in and confirm who would pick each child up at the end of the day (ha ha, at 10:55am, I mean).
All of the parents talked about how hot it was, whether or not anyone slept in their houses last night, and how the kids seemed to be handling it. Eventually they all lined up against the brick wall and we were allowed to walk up to the room with them just for today, but usually we will say our goodbyes outside. The moms took turns taking pictures of each other with our kids. My crew in all of their glory, and silly Porter stretching his neck to get a good view of the camera;)
And big boy, lined up outside.
Up in the most adorable classroom ever, the parents read over the instructions on the projector screen: place backpack in cubby, folder in white bin, school supplies on table, and get a name tag. It was totally crazy in there since Truman's class is a HUGE twenty-four students, plus twenty-four nervous/happy parents trying to maneuver their way around the classroom. We found his cubby and his name tag and then T found a spot on the 'square-colored rug' next to some friends. I stood in the back with Porter on my chest and Cecelia at my side and tried really hard not to cry.
The teacher welcomed everyone once they were sitting. She asked them to turn their bodies so their eyes could see her, and one of the kids said, 'But your eyes can't see yourself!' She agreed, and Truman piped in, 'But if you had a mirror, you could see your own eyes.' My brave boy, talking in front of everyone----I know he is going to be just fine;)
Then she said, 'Everyone look at those mommies and daddies back there. Can you give them a wave? And now tell them 'goodbye!'' and they did. My big boy looked right at me, smiled, waved, and blew me a kiss right at the same time I acquired a huge lump in my throat. This was really happening. It was time.
I left the room with my two littlest kids and fought back the tears, yet again. I chatted with some of the other moms and said, 'See you in two hours!', then took Porter and Cecelia home with me. It was a surreal moment in time and one I probably won't forget anytime soon. CC was totally out of sorts at home, asking where Truman was, saying she was 'super tired', being a little whiney and unsure of how to play without her big brother. I eventually took Porter and CC for a long walk because it was just too weird at home, and then we headed right for the playground to wait for mister man. I realized that a few of the trees in our area already have a few orange leaves----back to school, and it's almost Fall. Wow.
We saw the teacher come out first, followed by twenty-four of the most adorable, huge, but tiny junior kindergarteners ever. She went down the line and had each kid give her a high five and/or a hug before they were released to the designated parent. Truman was blowing the little whistle on his backpack, waving to CC and I, and smiling his classic grin. I got a video of him giving the teacher a five AND hug, running over to us, and returning two big hugs from Cecelia. Apparently she missed him more than I knew, hugging him and giving him a leaf as if to say, 'I'm so glad you are back.' It's the cutest video ever, in my humble opinion.
We played on the playground for awhile and I met a few new moms---women that could possibly be a part of my life for many more years now, which is both strange and really awesome to consider. Truman said he met a lot of new friends and they all pretended to be puppies on the playground together (?!). Talk about an oxymoron: seeming SO big and yet obviously still so young at the same time. ;)
Walking back home, Truman and Cecelia wouldn't listen to me and got scolded for refusing to hold hands as we crossed the street. Porter was crying in my arms, I was pushing an empty double stroller, and the emotional fall back was hitting everyone pretty hard at that moment. Cecelia went up for her nap, Porter is now sleeping in my arms, and I got a full report from Truman before his iPad time began.
Apparently they listened to a story told by his teacher, they got to choose between playing with trains, playing house, or playing with blocks---and he chose playing house. They colored, they ate their snacks packed by their parents, and then it was time to get their backpacks from the cubby holes. Pretty fantastic day, it seems.
I am just so proud of my boy. He is going to love school and I think his teacher will love him, too.
I guess I never really understood this big milestone until I went through it myself. It's so awesome and such an amazing event to see your first born growing up, moving forward in the big world, while letting go of him at the same time. It's terribly cliche to say, but I swear I was just taking his monthly baby pictures and posting about him learning to walk on this blog. Wasn't I just making his 'first year' collage? Posting about his second birthday party? Then him becoming a big brother two times? The little boy who made me a mother is now making me a mom with a child in school. Where on earth did the last four years go?
As I looked through the pictures I took this morning, added some text to announce this big occasion with an image that seems to capture his innocence and potential, I realized that this is the next big step. After the weekly and monthly posts about babies growing up, come the yearly 'back to school' posts. The 'end of the school year' pictures will follow, and true summer fun in between. You've read about Truman growing up over the years and here I am, posting about him going to school. Funny how that works, huh?
I've never felt more like a legit MOM than I do right now, you guys. It's such a wild, fast ride and I'm so honored to travel along with my Truman as he enters these phases for the first time. My big boy. What a ride.