The first week of the 2011/2012 school year is now history, and by just about all accounts, it was a success, well at least by kid standards.
Olivia was psyched for school. It helped that her best friend since kindergarten was in her class for the fourth year in a row. The Friday before school started, we trekked up to the school three times, just in case the classroom lists were posted earlier than the 5 p.m. deadline. Olivia was as anxious to see that class list as a high school senior is waiting on their college acceptance letters. That’s a bad analogy because now I’m thinking about college for the kids.
O.K., I’m moving back to elementary school. The first morning, Van and I both took the girls to school. I walked Olivia over to the 3rd grade area, while Van stayed with Erin. I joined them as soon as Olivia was settled, which was about a nanosecond, because she was off and running once she spotted her friends. Erin was definitely nervous. She didn’t want to play on the playground before school started, and you could see the fear and trepidation in her beautiful brown eyes.
Once the bell rang, the kindergarteners and their parents filed into the classroom. Since we were at school one day earlier for an ice cream social, Erin knew what table was hers, and she made a beeline for it. She sat down, looked at the kid to the right of her, and looked at the kid to the left of her. Neither was crying, so even though I think she was on the verge of tears, if I could guess what was going on inside of that head of hers, I would guess she was thinking that as long as her table-mates weren’t crying, she wasn’t going to shed any tears either. So she moved onto coloring.
Shortly after taking this picture, Van and I were ushered out with the rest of the parents. We then took a quick step inside Olivia’s classroom, saw she was doing just fine, and then we both headed off to work.
After school, Erin called me to tell me about her day. Her response? “It was kinda ok.” Uh-oh. That’s not the response I wanted. I wanted her to say, “I loved it Mommy!” Here’s why she didn’t love it. Apparently, she asked a little girl if she wanted to play with her on the playground, and she got dissed. The girl said she was already playing with three other kids. When Erin told me the story, my heart broke for her.
Erin seemed even more hesitant about the second day of school now that she knew what to expect. She’s a trooper though, and walked into her classroom without much more than a second look at me, after I waved goodbye. I thought and worried about her all day, but apparently it was needless worry. When she called me after school, she said her day went much better, and she made a friend! I seriously nearly lost it when she told me that.
New school years and new classrooms. They’re a rite of passage for kids and their parents. As a kid, I know every year it got easier. I thought the same would be true for parents. It’s not. I shudder to think how I will react in two years when Carrie starts kindergarten.