You had your first day of kindergarten a week ago. Your dad, your big brothers, Carina, and I loaded the stroller up with all your school supplies and walked you and your hashbrown belly to class. Your brothers said goodbye at the school entrance and Colin gave you a big hug, telling you you were going to do great.
A Dad (with a capital D) was quizzing your teacher when we walked in the classroom, so we quietly waited for his questions to end. Then the teacher turned her attention to you with a big smile and said, “Ah, another smart boy!” She led you to your cubby to show you where to put your monster backpack, and then you sat down to color. After a quick goodbye (feeling like veteran parents) , Daddy, Carina and I walked out, leaving our handsome little guy in the care of someone else for seven hours.
And I didn’t cry.
I had spent the previous evening reading my blog late into the night, letting the tears spill over onto my pillow as Chad slept beside me. All five of your years are here, and each post about you is precious to me.
Your smiling brown eyes. Your strong will. Your energy. Your joy. Most of all, your love.
My heart ached with post after post and the thought that keep swimming in my head - Did I do enough?
Why oh why can’t kindergarten be half-day here?
When we dropped you off, your teacher reminisced with us that on Colin’s first day of kindergarten I was pregnant with you (you were born hours later, as you know). It was certainly a full-circle moment, watching you, my last baby boy, start the same adventure that my first baby boy began on the day of your birth.
On the way to school you told me, “Mom, I am a little excited and a little nervous too, but I am just going to do the things I am supposed to do. I am just going to be quiet and not talk, but then talk when teacher asks me stuff.”
In that moment of walking away from you, I didn’t rush back to my car to let all my emotions spill over, like I had done with your brothers, despite the months of shorted home-time with you. You were so ready. You were so confident. You had seen your brothers doing this your whole life. You would see them (and your dear cousins) in the hall, on the playground, and in the cafeteria. You would have feelings of home and security in little pieces all day long. Maybe Colin and Gabe had more mom-time, but you had been showered with brotherly love since your birth. You weren’t shorted at all.
Maybe I felt like I need more time home with you? I will miss you dearly. I will miss you calling me “Liam” on accident after you have been playing with him. I will miss your funny phrases. I will miss your any-time-of-the-day snuggles. I may even miss you asking for food all day long.
I am excited for you, Ollie. Your curious mind gets to work all day long now. Your friendly face will find many new pals. Your boundless energy will serve you well as you navigate through Chinese, music, art, and PE with your never-ending enthusiasm. I am so grateful now for those very traits that both exhausted us and entertained us as we tried to point you in the right direction. I am so happy that you are there now – heading strong-willed and kind-hearted on a path of growth. Keep going, my brown-eyed, furrowed- brow sweetheart.