My son is officially registered for Kindergarten! We went to our first part of the screening earlier this week. To say he was excited is an understatement. He did not stop grinning the entire morning.
He even packed his backpack full of "homework," pencils, pens, and a notebook with lined paper (Paw Patrol, his new one from his Easter basket - so he's not totally grown up yet despite how it sounds!). His backpack was half the size of him.
We met the school nurse, the office secretary who went over all the paperwork (you need child's birth certificate, proof of residency, and immunization records). We then met with a Kindergarten teacher, I got to stay with him during the whole half hour event. He had to write his name down and draw a picture. He drew a river, he told us. I asked him later why he thought to draw a river, and he said, "A river makes me think of summer, and summer is fun." Love that.
I'm going to hold on to that river analogy and the reminder that it's fun, my grown up little boy said so. Rivers are sometimes calm, sometimes choppy, sometimes unexpected bends in the river take you down a different path than you expected. But essentially, rivers are fun for little boys - full of fish and mud and grass and cool water when it's hot. So I'll remember that, and thanks to my son it helped me feel better.
A few moments of hesitation from my big kid who was SO excited to be here, like when he got his eyes checked he wanted me with him. But overall, he was so proud of himself.
His only question for the staff was one for the Kindergarten teacher, "Do I get to read a lot of stories here?" That makes me so happy. Again, he's eager to learn, anticipating all the cool things that will happen here.
My little guy is not so little anymore. And he's LOVING it.
There was a moment while standing in the library of the school, his eyes wider than I think I've ever seen them, the kind of wide eyed a child looks on Christmas morning or at an amusement park, and I just stared at him. I took it all in... his big boots that he had to wear because "big guys wear boots, Mom," how this sweater is kind of getting too small for him but I just wanted to see him in something "little" once more (fire trucks on sweaters mean little boys who once were babies, in my mind). The way he swims in his backpack, how he was SO proud to bring his "homework," how he insisted he needed that backpack, even though I suggested we didn't really need to take it.
The smile on his face, the glimmer of hope and all things possible and pure happiness and sheer excitement in his eyes as he looked around at the stuffed animals on the shelves, at the little chairs that fit kids "just like me, Mom!" It was then that I realized, "My baby IS growing up. He is." I think somehow I've been doubting it a little bit since he turned the Big Five in February. I've been so afraid of it, fearing somehow it (the changes, the school bus, the new kids, the big Kindergarten label, etc.) would somehow change my little man or make him grow away from me, he wouldn't need me anymore.
Yet in this moment, with his pride truly beaming from his little body (ok huge body - he's taller than all the other kids and the lockers there!), I knew it was the opposite. He needs me for this great big adventure. He's going to be SO psyched to share it with me. He's going to run off that school bus and into my arms and share all the great things he learned, and I'm going to be SO proud, just like he is. And it's not always going to be like that, it won't be easy and we'll face some new challenges, just like we did at the start of daycare and preschool. But it's going to be awesome.
I realized then and there, as he beamed at me, pointing to library books with the little gold circle on them, "Caldecott Medal, Mom, this is a good book you know," that he's smarter than I am even. He knows his stuff. He knows Kindergarten is going to be so cool, and it's nothing to be afraid of.
I teared up just then. Not from fear, not from sadness, but rather from pride. I wanted to chase after him and his pride just then, because it was true happiness right there. Nothing scary, nothing bad. It's real, and it's awesome, this Big Five Kindergarten stuff.
It's going to be great.
(Just hand me a tissue in September and remind me that I said it'd be great, will ya?!)