Tonight, I sat in my son’s tiny first-grade school desk for back-to-school night and resisted riffling through its contents. I didn’t want to disrupt his teacher’s slideshow about schedules and learning and classroom rules and how parents are able to volunteer and be involved.
I sat there, fidgeting to find a comfortable position and thought about my own first grade experience. SosoSO shy, I didn’t speak to my teacher for months. I thought about how full-circle it feels that my greatest concern about my little boy’s first months at school is the same. That upon meeting his teacher, I said “He may not speak to you for a couple of months, but hang in there. He’ll do better with soft than he will with enthusiasm.”
That she got that gives me grace and hope for all of us, mamas and papas. Because while we stand at the bus stop and shout “Whoot!” because finally a schedule again and finally a break in this humidity and heat, it’s also about saying goodbye to the last year and to the babies who are no longer babies. And that’s always full of both the happy and the sad and that doubts about whether this summer was just perfect enough or too perfect and under-appreciated. As are, I suppose, all of the moments. We never know when one is perfect until afterwards and then we’ll always wonder whether we could’ve-should’ve extended or embraced it more than we did.
It seems that the moments in which we think “oh-please-oh-please help me to hold this” are often later blurry. Which may be why they feel so complete and right.
Really what I guess I’m getting at is how in the world did September arrive so quickly? I mean, don’t actually answer that because of course I know that September comes after August and that we just had August and that this time of year was coming and was right around the corner the same way that it does and is every more-rapidly whizzing-by year.
But still. I feel as if we’re falling into and out of all of the things.
We’re falling and stumbling to get up and ready after three months of not having to get up and get ready very often. Yesterday, we ran back inside the house to replace veggie fries with Pirate’s Booty for snack time because “I changed my mind” and “need hair gel afterall.” Which is -of course- fair and should have been expected, but wasn’t. For the past three months, we didn’t worry about the bus pulling away without him, his friends on board and him having to gawdforbid ride with mom to get to school.
Tonight, I sat in my son’s tiny first-grade school desk for back-to-school night and thought about fall and apples and crisp leaves crunching under our boots. I thought about working more hours. But mostly, I thought about my little boy who is grow grow growing more into himself and a little bit further from being little every day. A little bit further from me everyday? Yes, that, too.
I sat at his desk and thought about how I didn’t cry this year when he got on the bus only to find myself crying when his new teacher explained that they’re working on the concept of safety beyond the physical aspect of it. Today, there was a “secure mode.” I don’t know whether that means lockdown, but suspect that it does. On the third day of school. A stranger was reported in the playground by some of the students,and there was a FOR-REAL “secure mode” at school. On my son’s third day of first grade. It was resolved but you guys — a “secure mode.”
That’s not what made me cry though. My not-so-little little boy’s teacher told us that they were focusing on feeling safe. Physically. Themselves and their friends. That they need to be mindful of their bodies and their space and hurting physically but that being safe also means that anybody in class can raise his or her hand and feel safe in asking a question. She has them thinking – on the third day of first grade – about empathy and being accepted and accepting. That’s when I cried.
Because once again, it seems that I’ve found grace and kindness and a teacher who will help my son to know that it’s okay to ask a question even when he’s too shy to raise his hand.
Even when he’s worried about being understood. That she knows that everybody’s questions matter. That special needs are just needs.
And so maybe, this falling and stumbling into and out of fall is going to be more of a stepping forward than a looking back. Although, I have to admit, that I’ll always look back a little bit, too. I’m kinda sentimental that way.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post, where writers and bloggers gather together to share their versions of a completed sentence. This week’s prompt was “This fall, I…”
****ALSO my husband is at work tonight and LIKEALWAYS I did this at the last minute, the exception being that my son has been awake and I’m trying to get him to bed so will be editing this and and and but OMG guys… SCHOOL. Schedule. Crap.