September 21, 2005

The clock keeps turning

Yesterday was the first day of pre-school for the Boy Child. There was no way that I was going to miss this; I re-scheduled a deposition until later in the afternoon so I could attend. In fact, to my surprise, I was the only father in attendance yesterday. I don’t understand how other fathers don’t prioritize these kinds of events.

Anyway, no drama. The Boy Child was beyond fine. He was excited to go to school. He walked into his classroom under his own power, holding only his sister’s hand; she insisted on taking him to his class before going to her own. He took one look at the trucks on the shelves and we ceased to exist for him. Didn’t even seem to notice that we were leaving, didn’t respond to our calling goodbye to him, although his sister got a goodbye after she became insistent, and he was good. No separation anxiety in the slightest.

Well, no anxiety for him. He was golden. I was a total mess. I went upstairs after his door closed and returned a couple of business calls and then snuck back down to peek into his room. The window, while mostly covered with construction paper cut outs, did have some gaps and I snuck a peek. It was snack time. He was sitting in his little chair, one arm insouciantly hanging over the back, the other hand occupied with a cookie, happily munching away with a big smile as he looked around and took everything in. He was so beautiful, so perfect.

I am not ashamed to say that I almost cried. Hell, I’m almost crying right now as I type this. It was the purest realization that he has now taken his first step away from us, his first step out of the house, his first movement towards being his own person. Simply, I am not ready for that. In some ways, change is like death. It is a leaving behind of what was. I am not ready for him to leave behind what was. Look, I know that I am, as my wife calls it, taking my sorrows in advance here but it was just the same a very poignant moment for me. I had the same problem with the Girl Child on her first day of pre-school. She was fine; I was a basket case.

I got to watch his class from the windows of the library as they went out on the playground and ran around. He was a blur of constant motion, taking everything at a joyful and determined run. When class was over, we met him on the playground and he seemed delighted to see us, although he objected quite strongly to leaving the playground. His teacher told us that “he was very sweet” and that if she could, she’d have let him stay all by himself for the next introductory session scheduled on the heels of this one but she’d get in trouble. So we coaxed him from the playground with a mention of the train that he had to take me off to. One of the other teachers exclaimed, in surprise, that the Boy Child ate three cookies at snack time. I replied: “The Boy can himself some eat cookies.” In fact, cookie may be his major food group.

He chatted with us, happily, all the way back to the train station. Everything was “gøy” (Norwegian for happy or fun, pronounced kind of like gay). Trucks, park (his word for playground), juice, snack, all was gøy. He liked his teachers and he agreed that he was very tired.

I was tired, too. Wrung out, actually, and I slept for a good part of the train ride into the city.

I think he’s going to have a good experience there. And I’m glad. The part of me that isn’t sad, still.

Posted by Random Penseur at September 21, 2005 12:30 PM | TrackBack

I cried for each one when they started school. And called my mom and blubbered to her over the phone too, while she started crying, talking about each time WE had started school so many years before.

It's a rite of passage. :-)

And you are a good dad. :-)

Posted by: Amber at September 21, 2005 01:19 PM

Awww, sweetie. It's always harder on the parents than it is on the kids. Take comfort in the fact that BC is confident enough to not need the backward glance and let yourself cry every now and then.

And I agree with Amber. You're a stellar daddy.

Hugs all around,

Posted by: Margi at September 22, 2005 04:52 PM

You are a good dad, RP.

Just wait until your son says his teacher is "goy" (not non-Jewish, the Norwegian word. I don't have the Norwegian keybord, aw, screw it, you know what I mean!) to her/his face. Better get an explanation of the term to them up front!

Posted by: Mark at September 22, 2005 10:36 PM

Thanks, y'all. Mark, you raise a good point. His teachers are all a little apprehensive already about the language gap and being able to understand him.

Posted by: RP at September 23, 2005 10:32 AM
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