We started kindergarten last year (ok, it was my son who started kindergarten, not me, but in valley lexicon, we all did it!), and among a certain circle of friends, that makes me a bit of an expert. Besides the fact we go to school, my son also goes to after school care as well as several extracurricular activities designed to make him very well rounded. So, I get lots of questions from my friends along these lines:
"When does Chess/Science/Basketball start?"
"What do the kids do from 2:05 to 3:30pm when the programs start?"
"What is the bus schedule?"
"What about this peanut free school thing, how do you work around that?"
"What do you mean, they don't have hot lunch for kinders?"
So, I answer a lot of questions - I like that, I like being someone who knows things. But the hardest part about this Q&A is that I don't have a good way to explain the other things that happen. That feeling I got on the first day of school when my son waved his goodbye, stood in line with his classmates and walked into the classroom, with not much of a backward glance over his shoulder. Or the time when the parents were invited into the classroom for a reading and writing performance and my son stood at the front of his classroom and delivered his lines with emphasis and enthusiasm. Or the time when we walked into his after school program and he was leading his friends in a rousing game of kickball.
Something happens during these times, a feeling that I am not in touch with but that makes me pause. It is a warm, kind of constricting feeling near my heart, and sometimes it makes me want to cry, other times I think I will burst with pride. The child with whom I had thought I would not make it through the first six weeks of life is now onto a new chapter in his life, one that does not involve so much of me, one that demonstrates a new found self reliance, and as far as I can tell, it is a beautiful thing.
How do I tell my friends that kindergarten is so much more than figuring out the schedule or deciding what to pack for lunch. Maybe I won't tell them, it would be fun for them to discover it on their own.....