Thursday, September 29, 2011

All kids aboard

Ahhh, the mixed feelings of an empty house. Midway through our baby years, with three kids four and under, it was impossible to imagine a day when they would all be out of the house for the bulk of the day. 

After a flurry of activity in the mornings (by far my least favourite part of the day), lunches packed, clothes station completed, breakfasts prepared and mostly ignored, hair tortured into compliance (or a semblance of...), I come back to silence. 

I practically sprint to the radio and turn it on to fill the empty space with the familiar voices of the CBC. But they aren't the kids. It isn't the same.

Lukey's first walk to Kindergarten
I am so proud of Lukey and his transition into Kindergarten. The best way I can describe it is that he is a very whole and complete person. He takes things in stride, but not in an unconscious or thoughtless way. He just deals with things.

From his very first day of school, he has barely flinched. His only hiccough was the night before the first day. I snuggled up into his bed in a quiet moment to gauge his mood. He was stoic. I pried a bit. His chin quivered and he confessed that he was scared that in the middle of a full day of school, he might fall asleep. Then the other kids would laugh at him.

We talked about how every kid in his class was starting something new for the very first time, not just him. We talked about how he has never been a napper (or sort of sounded like he thought he might just collapse sound asleep in the middle of a game in the gym). We talked about everything I could think of to reassure him.

All summer, he talked about this fire truck in the classroom. He beelined for it on the first day to check it was there, just as he remembered. 

Who needs reassurance? Mostly me. The toughest part of this whole, big transition for our family is mine to navigate. Until the kids start school, the majority of their life experience is controlled and filtered by our family lens. For four years, Lukey has been home with us. He goes where we take him, he eats what I give him, he deals with his sisters as his friends. I find it hard to share my kids with the bigger world of school sometimes, because the margins expand so quickly.

At home, Lukey is surrounded by people who love him. Not just a little bit. Big, crazy love. Now, he has to head out into a world that isn't unconditionally in love with him. A world populated by other kids and teachers. He's just another boy on a crowded playground.

I want to keep him home. Cuddle him a half a dozen times an hour, like always. Instead, I have to share him. It is the first step in gently letting him go.

It turns out, that's pretty hard.

The five of us on our walk to the first day of school.
Lukey has been great. He has adapted to all day school with barely a backward glance. He's only come home at lunch time once. It was the day of the Terry Fox Run. After running, he was overheated, overwhelmed, overtired and overstimulated. He asked me to take him home. And I did.

The next day, with some trepidation, he asked if that run happened EVERY DAY. He was relieved when I said no.

I wish this little guy a great journey through his school years. I am happy that he is in this place, with these people. I hope that the heartbreaks (which are inevitable) aren't too devastating and that the triumphs (inevitable too, I hope) are thrilling.

In the meantime, I just have to bring him home after school and cuddle him extra to make up for the six hours I've missed. Because I really miss them.