After three years in Seedlings, where I always felt a part of his every day, my son Luke has started kindergarten. I wondered, what would it be like?
On the first day of school, Luke bounced out of bed early in the morning and said “it’s time to get ready for school,” then headed to the shower, brushed his teeth and was dressed before I had made my coffee. Wow, that has never happened before!
Luckily, we can walk to school. No long car lines. We walk with 16 other people (kids and adults . . . oh and four dogs too). All the kids walk ahead with the parents lagging somewhat behind.
On the first day of school, Luke heads inside with his friends but halfway down the hall he suddenly stops and turns to look for me. He sees me through the crowd and comes back to take my hand as we walk into his class. He starts right in drawing, and I stand there wondering “when did my baby get so big?” I long to stay there all day, feeling if I turn and leave I will come back and my baby boy will be all grown up.
But later that day, and every day since, when I pick him up he runs out and hugs me yelling, “Mommy,” which he has suddenly started calling me. He’s still my baby after all, and I miss him each day.
However, walking to and from school helps me to feel more connected to his day. Each morning we all enjoy seeing the burrowing owl that lives at the school, especially Ethan. The owl’s name is Popcorn, and he sits quietly watching all the kids heading to class.
One afternoon we got to walk home in the rain. Oh, so much cooler and invigorating! Today we brought home a huge dead dragonfly! It is now in Luke’s treasure box. And we love the gigantic sunflowers we have watched grow bigger every day.
Luke seems to be excited about learning. Whenever there is “free station time” he says, “I always pick the computer, Mom.” He loves his teacher and talks about the new friends he is making. Whenever anyone asks him if he is learning a lot, he says “Well, mostly you just get to play.” He thinks it is cool to eat in the cafeteria and says Coach can “really play basketball.” He feels the kindergarten playground “is too small for me” and longs to go to the other side where the big kids are playing basketball.
Most afternoons after walking home, all the neighbor kids play outside. The first week Luke and his friend, Nicci, played school. They took turns being the teacher, doing “homework” and practicing their writing. The second week they moved on to running, swinging and riding scooters, somehow working out that they are in school now.
So I’m enjoying my morning walks and looking forward to the afternoons of seeing Luke for the first time after being gone all day. And just the other day, when he came out with a splash of green paint on his shirt, I smiled a little bigger thinking maybe he really does “mostly just get to play” after all.
Julie is mom to Luke, a former Seedling, and Ethan, a Little Sprout.
© Sunflower Creative Arts, 2011