Michael started First Grade today. I cried a little (does that really surprise anyone?)
We left for school this morning at 7:20 am. School begins at 7:50 am, but Michael needs time to warm up on the playground before he is ready to begin the day. This allows him to get settled in. I was the exact same way, though I didn't need the time on the playground. I would get up at 4:30 am to watch I Love Lucy and to wake up. People thought I was a morning person, but really, I was just up way before anyone else (but never on the weekends!).
On our walk to school, Michael was pretty excited about starting first grade. We talked about his teacher's name (because I knew he had already forgotten) and his favorite part about school (the playground, of course). As we walked closer to school, he got a bit more quiet. Pensive, if you will. Michael found his classroom and set his book bag outside of the door. We stood, hand in hand, on the edge of the playground.
"Mommy, can you come and play with me?"
"No, boo, I can't; but I will stand right here and watch you until you get to go into your class."
"OK. Can I stand here with you for a little while? Just so you won't be alone."
"I would love for you to stand with me until you are ready to go play."
Amd we stood at the edge of the playground for just a little bit. More and more kids were arriving, more and more parents were watching from the sidelines. Michael's friend, Brantley from Kindergarten, came over and Michael ran off to play with him. I caught glimpses of green and blue stripes running here and there. I knew he would be OK. I looked over at the kindergarten playground - the more crowded of the play yards. Quite a few tearful moms and dads taking picture upon picture. I remember feeling that way -- heck, I felt that way still!
The bell rang. Michael ran over to gather his book bag of newly purchased school supplies and his lunch box. He gave me a smooch, a little wave, and headed into the classroom. I watched him from the windows - put down his book bag, take his supplies to the proper place, and sit down towards the back of the circle. I watched as he said the Pledge of Allegiance. And I walked away. And I shed a tear. My baby is growing up.