As I was saying, Henry went to school for the first time last week. He is in preKindergarten with eleven other students.
I took the day off from work so that I could bring him to school at 9 and be there when his first day was finished at noon. It was a beautiful, sunny morning. During the fifteen minute drive, I thought about how comfortable I was with this milestone and actually, how it didn't feel like a milestone at all. Henry has been attending Sunday School in this same building for over a year. The preKindergarten teacher is the same kind woman who cares for the toddlers (including Liam) during the service every week. I chose this school because of the loving atmosphere, small class sizes and their caring curriculum. Leaving Henry with the staff felt like leaving him with family.
We waited outside the doors for several minutes (definitely the first time we've been early for anything in a long, long time). There were lots of families as the building houses multiple classrooms. There were several dads accompanying the moms and children. This made me feel a bit wistful. I wondered how much they would talk about family members on this first day. (They will, of course, talk about family composition, but please, oh please, not on the first day.) I approached a mom and her four year old to introduce Henry to the boy. They are a sweet family and this helped to pass the time.
Then the doors opened. Henry's teacher walked out, greeted him with a smile and took him and the other boy into the building. Just like that. I found myself calling after them, "Have a fun day....I love you....Bye". Henry never looked back. I have no idea if he even heard me.
I walked to the car and began sobbing as soon as the door was closed. All I could think was "the teacher took my baby away". For the rest of the morning, amidst intermittent tears, that phrase kept running through my mind. I kept seeing him walk away from me and into that big building. Just like that. The teacher took my baby away.
I had finished crying (and reapplied my mascara) when I returned to the school at noon. Henry had the biggest smile on his face when he came running out of the building. He was positively glowing with happiness. That must have been some first day! Secretly, I was glad to have my boy back. I couldn't wait to get him in the car and have him all to myself.
After school, we treated ourselves to a delicious lunch. My big boy talked about his day and I stared at him with wonder, enormous pride and boundless love. I wanted to hear all about his experience but I didn't want to pepper him with questions. Henry told me a few things in between bites of noodles. "Mom, there was even girls there!" Sounds like it's going to be a great year.