The first day of school went well. No tears from him at drop-off. Only about 56 cries for me. I consider that a win. I watched a mom take a picture of her kid, turn around and walk off. She was overwhelmed and forgot to say bye. I get it, it’s a lot. The kid cried. The husband hollered through the hall, “he just wanted to say bye!” Glad I’m not in her guilt department.
I had so many texts and messages and calls. People thinking of us, encouraging words. My husband stayed with me. He was there through the hard leaving part and the crazy car-rider pick-up madness.
There was ice cream after school and excitement over the fun first day. Lots to tell and relief that it was all over and we survived. The happiness continued until bed time, extra snuggles and some nervous anticipation of the next day.
There’s a next day. Well, I didn’t prepare myself for this one. I’ve been so focused on getting through that first, hard day I completely looked over the fact that we’ll be doing this every day. Forever. Or so it seems right now. I knew it wasn’t just one day, I just didn’t know how much harder the second day would be.
The second morning didn’t have that new, exciting factor. Breakfast was filled with, “I don’t want to go back” and “Why did you wait so long to come back and get me?” Followed by a very mature conversation with a 10-year-old kid I swear was only 5 yesterday. One day of school matures them so fast. It’s heart-wrenching. There was a huge sibling fight on the way out the door over a Spider-Man figure and anxiety that he’s starting his day off terrible. I was taking him alone this time.
The second day is walking him in again because I can’t imagine just opening the van door and letting that tiny boy find his way, even though he says he can. It’s watching him search for the little heart I put in his backpack to make sure it’s still there in case he feels sad. It’s hugging him tight and watching him walk big into that loud, scary gym all alone. It’s speed walking to my car to burst because 2nd day tears aren’t acceptable.
It’s sitting in the parking lot for 15 minutes forcing myself to leave when my entire being screams stay. It’s wanting to go home and cry all day, but I have another child so I can’t. There’s both frustration and gladness about that. My eyes feel dry through the tears because I’m terrified to blink. It’s all happening too fast.
We go to the library and Target. I’m feeling numb, yet trying to do anything to not. I feel a slight relief to only have one to keep up with. That is followed by instant guilt and sadness. We go home to a completely quiet house and I cry again when she asks who goes first with hand washing, then realizes it’s just her. (I’m cry hiding in the kitchen so she can’t see). We try to play, but there’s 3 characters in the floor and she asks, “Who will be the dinosaur?” He’s always the dinosaur.
I try to read and talk with her. It’s almost awkward. We’ve never known life with just us. It’s like I’m meeting a new kid. Will we figure out this new life? I hope so. I feel guilty for being so sad about one while trying to connect with the other. It’s a strange place to be.
There’s not a time I’m not thinking about what he’s doing. Is he hungry? Does he miss us? Is he sad? Is he having fun? Lunch time rolls around. She asks why I’m not fixing brother a plate. There’s a quiet, empty seat that’s usually filled with a squirmy boy telling funny jokes. She finds a picture of him and cries for 30 minutes begging me to bring him home. It’s storming, so I know he’s nervous.
Time for nap and the house is so quiet my ears hurt. He’s usually drawing or tinkering around in his room with toys. The reality of it all hits hard. Now I’m nervous about fighting the pick-up line alone and then feeling dumb for being nervous. Excitement over finally seeing him outweighs it all.
This will take time. It will get easier, or so they say. I guess we’ll see after day 3, because I sure wasn’t prepared for day 2.