The first two days of school are behind us and I am exhausted already.
I was never a worrier until I met this kid. Even in the worst of times, I generally took the attitude that things would work out eventually, whatever the problem. I could work to find a solution, there was almost always something I could do to get a better grip on the thing stressing me out.
When it comes to my son though, I can't seem to stop worrying. If somehow I could just see into the future and know that none of this stuff will ruin him eventually, I'd feel better. I know, I mean I really do know in my head, that a rough first two days of kindergarten will not mean he will be a disaster his whole life.
It's not like I know anyone who is a mess and everyone says "Oh, him? Yeah, it all started when he had to go to kindergarten and he cried for the first two mornings."
Nathan expressed his fear of going to kindergarten more than a year ago. As soon as he saw the school in our neighborhood and found out he'd eventually go there, he was worried about it. I was able to put off the discussions for a long time because they weren't relevant. He was worried about something so far off there was no point talking about it.
As kindergarten approached, I talked it up, but not too much. I looked for clues he was interested in the topic and stopped when he was done. I told him I am always here to talk or answer questions or whatever he needed. I didn't push. I advised others not to push. He's sensitive. Change and anticipation of change are hard for him. He doesn't like not knowing what's coming next. I get it. I respect it.
On the first day, we walked to the school and he lost it on the courtyard playground. He cried and sobbed and snotted all over my shirt. He entered the school on line with his class just as he was told but he sniffled and gulped air the whole way.
I know I can't protect him from sadness and hurt and these are necessary lessons for him growing up. But watching your baby be afraid and sad is just heartbreaking.
When I returned to pick him up, he was all smiles. Everything was great and he was happy. He said he was ready to take on the next day. Until the next day actually arrived and this time he cried before we left the house. He sobbed and wailed the entire walk. He stopped briefly to talk to a new friend about Angry Birds but when he was left with his thoughts for more than a minute he was crying again. As he walked in, he just kept calling my name saying he loved me.
Heartbreaking, I tell you.
I picked him again all smiles. He said he thinks he could have a better Monday with less tears.
I hope so. Because I don't know if I can spend the next 178 school days sitting at my desk at work, worried that he's sad.