Today was G’s first day of Kindergarten, and I walked him to school.
As I have already shared with some friends, I would have bet my life savings that I would not have cried while dropping my son off this morning.
Turns out I would be flat broke if I had.
I surprised myself. After all, he had been going to daycare since he was six months old.
But today… Gah.
Yesterday, I asked him if he was nervous. He said, “A little bit. Yes.”
He crawled into bed with me last night. After about an hour of restless sleep on his part, he said,
“I love you.”
This is the very first time he has ever said this as anything other than an obligatory response to my lead. This is the most he has ever meant it.
A little later: “Mommy.”
“Please acknowledge me.”
“I acknowledge you, G.” Then he handed me a big binder clip that was in my bed for whatever stupid reason, then went back to sleep.
This morning, he turned the tables on me, and took My “First Day of School” picture:
It’s all right there.
The hardest part about the drop off this morning was seeing him so nervous. His anxiety eclipsed his ease, as ruthlessly as the pulses of pure, clean motherhood washed through me. It was life just moving through us, asking nothing from us but to borrow our experiences for its existence: a flash point for its expression..
“Pain” is the wrong word for what was happening in the whole of my chest cavity. “Sadness,” even, is too strong.
It was “Mother.”
It was the tension from a new and slightly larger distance that was established today between me and my son.
I walked home with the familiar red tipped nose that I had seen on my own mother on several occasions while growing up: when a doctor had some incredibly scary news about me…when I pulled out of the driveway on my way to college. And like Marsha, I, too, sported eyeglasses to shield my red rimmed eyes from any splashes of empathy from passersby. It felt too private.
And I let myself have it. I wept. And it felt really good. And he’s gonna be great. And I like that kid so much, and I know that some others will too. And I love the shit outta that kid, and I know some others will too. And Omar and Martin, the two boys standing against the wall next to him, will become his buddies. Or they won’t. And I can’t stop this tide, nor do I want to.
And I’m grateful for digital cameras.
There is only one first day, and this is it.
I acknowledge you, G.
Thanks for reading, and carry on..
Old Single Mom
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