Thursday, October 31, 2013


Now that the first nine weeks of kindergarten have passed, I’m getting around to writing about this monumental life moment for my son and our family.  Oh well…

The night before kindergarten I was a little nervous.  We laid out clothes, read books about going to school, checked that the book bag was packed (for the tenth time), and went to bed early.  I went to bed, but I didn’t go to sleep right away.  My mind was racing:

Would he remember his book bag when he got off the bus?  I never rode the bus, so I was most anxious about that part.

Would he have to get help getting to his class?  I know there will be people there to help, but he’s like his Mom—having to ask for help or receiving help embarrasses him, and I don’t want his day to start like that.

Would he be able to open all the items in his lunchbox by himself?

Would he speak up if something went wrong, because again, he’s like his Mom…?

Would he talk to his teacher and the kids in his class?  Would he talk too much, because when something’s wrong, he talks and talks and talks?  (Have I mentioned he’s like his Mom?)

Would he run out of steam before 4:00?  By the way, when did kindergarten become a 9:00-4:00 ordeal? 

Would he be safe? 

Then I saw a Facebook note my twin sister wrote for her nephew’s first day of kindergarten.  It was beautiful, and I cried, and I realized how incredibly blessed my son is. 

He was ready.  We were ready.

He was ready for kindergarten after two wonderful years of preschool with teachers and friends whom he loved and who loved him.  He had the clothes and supplies he needed, purchased by his parents and grandparents.  He even had a T-rex shirt, Star Wars light saber tennis shoes, and Stegosaurus socks.  He had parents, grandparents, an aunt, and teenagers, college students, and adults from our church praying for him as he began kindergarten.  He was praying for kindergarten himself.  And I thought, “What would public school be like if each child were sent through the doors with that kind of preparation—physically, socially, spiritually, and financially?”

He was getting ready to embark on his school career at the same elementary school where his parents met as six-year-olds.  We had P.E. in that gym with that teacher.  We ate lunch in that cafeteria.  We devoured books in that library.  We scraped our knees on that playground.  We learned to add, subtract, multiply, divide, create, read, and write in those classrooms.  I’ve danced more shows on that stage than I can remember.  My husband and I have had successful college and seminary careers, in part because of the great educations we received in this same school system.

So, we put him on the bus the next morning—my husband, my mom, my daughter, and me.  And it was a great moment.  It was joyful and exciting.  There were no tears.  (Don’t judge me for NOT crying, and I won’t judge you FOR crying.)  There was, though, a little sister holding tightly to her brother, not wanting to be left behind.  (On a side note, I think she’d take on kindergarten right now if we’d let her.  But, her grumpiness dissolved when she remembered what it was like to have Nana all to herself.) 

And there was a picture sent to my phone by a friend who teaches in the school.  And there was a picture in my e-mail from a teacher who goes WAY above and beyond.

And what was my son doing in those pictures?  Brown Bear activities.  I couldn’t help but smile.

See, the first picture I have of Tristan “reading” Brown Bear was when he was a newborn.    We kept reading that book to him, and he always smiled at the blue horse.

Then, when I was in Macedonia leading a student mission trip in the summer of 2009, I got a message from home.  On that trip, I followed the guidelines laid out for students—I didn’t use my phone or Facebook.  But there was a blog where our family members could send us messages.  And my husband sent one:  Brown Bear—Tristan’s first phrase.

So, our son started kindergarten with all the support and preparation possible.  It was a great first day, and it’s been a great nine weeks. 

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