Five years ago, it was hard to imagine this day ever coming. Gracie was a tiny, helpless baby who counted on us for everything. Then little by little, she became more independent; able to hold her own bottle, feed herself finger food, walk, talk…now she can do so much for herself (and with two little brothers and another on the way, I’m thankful!). Still, all this independence gets a little more bittersweet when you see that big yellow bus pulling up to take your baby somewhere you won’t be. All day long…sniff, sniff…My little Gracie started Kindergarten this week!
Our school district always starts after Labor Day because of the county fair, so she started a few weeks behind her daddy and many of her friends. I was thankful to have a few extra weeks to hang out with her before school started, and also thankful we could put off adjusting bedtime routines and everything else that changes when someone starts school. But, the inevitable happened, and it was time to start.
For the most part, she was pretty excited, especially after her orientation day when she got to go in, see the room, meet her teacher, make friends, and check out the bus situation. That eased a lot of her fears, and gave her lots of things to look forward to. As the kids went for some testing, the parents sat around and compared notes: some seasoned veterans who were coping well with the situation, a few who were freaking out about sending their first child to school, and one who was being teased mercilessly by her husband because she’d been crying for a week about sending her youngest. As a former teacher, I felt like I was a little less anxious than some of the other first-time moms, just because I’m familiar with schools and what happens there. I was mostly focused on getting Gracie excited for her big day, because I knew once she got some experience under her belt, she’d love school and would do great.
When the big day came, we decided to let her ride the bus (something she’d been begging for all summer). Getting all three kids, plus myself fed, pottied, dressed, and out to the end of our driveway by 8 a.m. is no small feat, but we made it. Gracie was so excited to be waiting for the bus, especially after meeting her bus driver at orientation. We took pictures before the bus arrived, then I took a couple as she got on the bus. She sat right in the first seat, and waved happily out the window.
As the bus pulled away, I realized that in all the excitement, I’d forgotten to kiss her goodbye. How could I forget to kiss my baby goodbye on her first day of school? I’d kept it together pretty well up to that point, but between the normal “first kid going to school” emotions and the pregnancy hormones, I pretty much lost it. I didn’t want to scare the boys, though, so I kept most of it inside as we turned and made the long walk up the driveway without their big sister.
It’s been a big adjustment, going from three kids at home all day to two. I’m so glad the boys can play with each other. Despite the constant comments from well-meaning strangers that I must be disappointed that Baby #4 isn’t a girl to make an even 2-2 split, seeing Max and Jack together makes me really glad that we’re having another boy. They are such pals, and I can only hope that two years from now, Jack and the new baby will be just as tight with each other when Max heads off to school. Oh jeez…Max will go to school some day…sniff, sniff…OK, let’s just deal with one monumentous, life-changing event at a time. It’s all my hormones can take.