(Drew was more confident going to kindergarten today than I remember any of my others being. But I loved that the second he hopped out of the suburban, his little hand reached for mine.)
I wasn't prepared for the drive to kindergarten today. Despite having jokingly begged Drew for weeks to stay home with me for just a couple more years, I was still feeling in fairly decent spirits as I fixed him a peanut butter sandwich and some chocolate milk for lunch. But then we got in the car, and before I knew it I was crying. I couldn't believe, I was driving my last child to their first day of kindergarten.
I remember taking Megan to her first day of kindergarten in 2004. I had 2 year old Luke dragging closely behind me, one hand carrying Ellie in her car-seat and the other hand grasped in Megan's, as I took her into Shelley Elementary in American Fork. I cried as I drove to Chili's in American Fork to meet my sister-in-law for lunch.
I remember taking Luke to his first day of kindergarten in 2007. I actually think I left 4 month old Joshua and 3 year old Ellie at home this time. I left Luke in the classroom at West Bountiful Elementary and cried as I drove home.
I recall taking Ellie to her first day of kindergarten in 2009. She had her hair in pig tails tied with pink ribbons and she held my hand tight as I took her into the school. I like to think somebody stayed home with Joshua and Drew, but unfortunately my memory is blurry. Although I do remember crying as I walked back to the car.
I remember clearly taking Joshua to kindergarten in 2012. I think I cried on the way there, I know I did as I hugged him goodbye, and I know I did as Drew and I returned home alone. Just me and him. No longer did I have 2 children awaiting my attention at home. Only one child alone with me felt strange for several weeks.
I'm quite positive I will remember today. The day I took my baby to kindergarten. Despite the fact he has gone to preschool a couple days a week for the last two years, kindergarten feels different. It is different. My baby has started the real school system. And even though kindergarten is sort of a wasted year (to me), it still seems strange that just shy of 16 years with someone still at home with me, all of my children are in school.
Though I have never been a fan of half-day kindergarten, I think today I am! After leaving the kindergarten parking lot today, sobbing. (Yes. Sobbing.) I am sooooo glad, Drew will still be with me each morning for one more year. I'm hoping all of my tears will get out this year, and I will anxiously await my all-day alone time next year.
But today was hard. Too many big changes for one school day.
I walked Luke to the junior high bus stop, and even though he hugged me and let me kiss his cheek in front of all of the fellow bus riders, I cried the whole way home. There's something about 7th grade I do not like, and it was hard for me to let Luke go this morning. And Megan going to high school? I'm not quite sure how that happened. I'm pretending it isn't really true. Ellie in 5th grade, and Joshua in 2nd were a little less traumatic for me, but teary nonetheless.
I have anticipated this day for years...I remember taking Megan to kindergarten and wondering how it must feel to be sending the youngest instead of the oldest. Back then I imagined feelings of thrill, excitement and slight jealousy that my time was so far away. But I have realized how quickly it comes around in due time.
It's bitter and it's sweet.
Something only another mother would understand.