Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Zavion-My big Kindergartner
Today was the day. The day I've thought about since the day you were born. The day I've been thinking about almost daily for the last six months.
You were ready; more than ready. You knew that when you turned five, that meant school. Yet, you turned five just a month over the cut-off, so you had to wait. Living across from the elementary school was difficult; you saw the kids out there everyday and were just itching to start school. Your two cousins, only six and four months older, were already in Kindergarten and I watched your eager face as they told stories of school.
I was not as ready. Having you be so eager and excited made me happy-happy for you. I however, couldn't stop thinking; "Didn't I just bring him home from the hospital?" "Wasn't it just last month he said his first word, took his first steps...?"
We had so much time together, just the two of us, before Avalee came along. Three years and two months, to be exact. We have always been best friends, partners-in-crime. You shared my love of reading, and we would spend countless hours reading 'One Fish Two Fish,' 'Stinky Face, 'Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb' and countless others. Sometimes Daddy would get home from work, and I would realize all we had done was read all day.
As you got older, you developed a real knack for cooking and would spend as much time with me in the kitchen as you could. We were also craft buddies and I decided early on to just let you do whatever you were capable of, regardless of the mess. We sure had some interesting moments!
But, I knew it was time to send you onto teachers who would further what Daddy and I have already taught you. You are so anxious to learn math, are ready to read your own books and want to know everything there is about space.
Again, I was bolstered by your self-confidence, leadership and self-reliance. You have always been the type of kid to just go out and get what you want. You have a drive for knowledge in everything you do. You also have Mommy's perfectionism which combined means you are one determined guy! You make things happen but do it with a big smile on your face. You have one of the biggest, most unique personalities I have seen on anyone. In fact, you have been this way since the minute you were born. Your first smile was at only three days (captured by a very quick Daddy), first sentence at 17 months old and by two, you were going around the playground introducing yourself to kids and adults alike.
You also posses this amazing sensitivity. Your are compassionate to all, and are fiercely loyal to those you love. Your sister is probably the luckiest girl ever to have a brother who takes care of her and treats her with such respect. Dad and I are lucky too, often being the recipients of letters, pictures and gifts you have created for us (sometimes just because, sometimes as a 'thanks for doing all you do for me'). You have an amazing knack for sensing when someone needs a little extra boost, and you deliver; whether it's a drawing, hug or big smile, you can always brighten the mood.
And, today? Well, it was no different than any other despite us telling you what a big deal the first day of Kindergarten was. You obliged me taking a thousand pictures in front of the door, being careful not too smudge the chalk on the sign I made (maybe because you saw me being way too anal while making it?) then announced you were ready to go.
We tried holding you back but you were too anxious, so with thirty minutes until classes started, we started the five minute walk to the school.
You were so excited you were just bounding along, and your enthusiasm crept over to your little sister (who was so anxious about you leaving she didn't go to sleep until after 11PM the night before-at one point even crawling into your bed). I was happy to see the two of your running, chasing and tickling each other on the way over. Somehow, I think you knew she needed that.
We got to the school, and you went in just like you owned the place. It was only as we were walking down the long hallway to your classroom that you reached over and grabbed my hand. I wonder if that was for you or me?
In the classroom, and again it was like you were right at home (you had been there a few times already; for orientation, open house and assessments). Watching you do the mundane things that you will do everyday, like hang up your bag, pick a seat and stack up blocks, I started to tear up a little.
I think it was just the realization that that was now your new 'norm' and that I wasn't going to see that everyday.
We stuck around awhile; Dad, Avalee and I, just assessing everything, taking it all in. There wasn't much chatter among kids, since there was a lot of nervousness (mostly from the parents) in the air. You immediately started building a castle with blocks, and barely noticed as I took your picture.
Parents began trickling out, and I knew we should go. Pretty much all that was left were the parents of the kids begging and crying to not stay. You—you barely noticed when I said we were going. I didn't want to embarrass you, so I just squeezed your shoulders in a quick hug (vowing to give extra kisses later) and told you to listen to your teacher and have a great day.
Walking out of that room and down the hallway, it hit me that things were changing. I know it sounds silly, but I could clearly see you waving goodbye to me from your dorm room window...
I remembered the baggie your teacher had told the parents to take, and pulled it out.
Of course, it was so very thoughtful but made me cry even more.
I decided I needed one last look in the classroom, and although I know Daddy wanted to stop me, he didn't. We walked back; all the parents had gone and the door was closed, but I peeked in and there you were, sitting at your desk, still working on that castle. :o)
We walked that same path back home, and I couldn't stop my mind from playing an endless video of you; when I first saw your tiny face, you dressed up as Superman for your first Halloween at only 12 days old, your first steps, blowing out the candles on your 1st birthday, seeing your satisfied face when you realized you communicated with us by signing 'milk' or 'more', the look on your face when you had your first sucker (on your second Halloween), watching you watch the monkeys on your first trip to the zoo, laughing at thinking I had any chance keeping you clean on your first camping trip (in which you were covered in dirt in about 20 seconds), watching you dip your toes in the sand then in the cold Pacific Coast water for the first time, telling you "Daddy will be home later" when you cried and cried after he left for work each day, watching your amazement when we told you Mommy had a baby in her belly and you were going to be a big brother, laughing at your own 'baby belly' created by stuffing your basketball under your shirt, seeing you for the first time after becoming a family of four and getting to hug and kiss you after what seemed like years apart, watching the bond between you and your sister grow everyday and being amazed that a three year age difference doesn't seem to matter when two people love each other as much as you two do, watching as you realized you could read things and didn't even know it yet, watching you create hours on end (drawing, painting, sculpting, writing), listening to you 'read' your sister your favorite books, watching you ride without training wheels for the first time, and finally watching your little backpack bobbing along as you ran along to school, excited for the possibilities and what awaited you.
Of course, more tears were shed and I checked the time, realizing it was only 1:27 and we still had two hours and three minutes to go.
When it came time to get you, I walked a little faster on that path that will become oh-so-familiar to us in the coming years. I could see you waiting in line in front of the school (at 3:27...darn, I wanted to be waiting for you), looking calm, cool and collected. But, then you spotted me, and although I couldn't hear you, I saw you pointing to me and gesturing excitedly to your teacher. That made my heart beat a little faster...maybe you did miss me, just a little?
Questions about what you did, who you met, what you learned were not met with many answers. You sang a song but didn't know what it was about, read a new book but didn't know the title, played with a new friend on recess but didn't know her name. Your sister was beckoning you to chase her back home, run and play tag and you were ready to oblige. That was more important, of course, so I figured answers would come later.
The most important answer was "Yes, I loved it! I can't wait for tomorrow!"
Here we go again... ;o)