This morning was Jack’s special (and anti-climatic) first day of kindergarten. Considering today was a Thursday and he was supposed to go on Monday, it didn’t feel quite as emotional dropping him off. I didn’t cry because I’d been stuck at home for three long days with a very sick boy who was missing his first few days of kindergarten. We tried not to worry that all of the students would have found their cubbies, lunch tables, and even friends by the time he arrived. Thanks to amoxicillin, his case of strep simmered down, and on Thursday morning, he was finally armed with a Ninja Turtle backpack and his charming smile. And he entered the big, wide world for really the first time.
There are a million wonderful things to say about his school, Innocademy. The odds of him getting in to this school were so very slight, and God just answered my stressed-out prayer of what to do about educating this bright, amazing, hilarious, stubborn, challenging son of mine. He fell right into place at Inno, especially since our neighbors are an Inno family.
The day felt oddly familiar rather than fresh and new like the first day of school usually does. He had attended K-Camp this summer at Inno to prepare him for kindergarten and it did exactly that. So, today I’m praising the Lord for carving out such an amazing place for my son, for His continued provision over our family, and for giving me this wild kid to call my very own.
Jack and Caven at Innocademy’s Open House
Even though today will forever be starred on our calendars and monumental in its own way, the most special and spectacular part of my day with Jack was our time telling bedtime stories. We’ve been diligently working lately on better sleep management at our house. For a while, a regular night includes Jack waking up several times screaming in terror due to nightmares demanding to be cuddled, only to start over once me or Josh tip-toes back to our bed. (Meanwhile, that spunky little nearly-one-year-old has been waking up as well, often a few times). Nights have been dreaded and dreadfully long lately, which probably made his case of strep even worse. So, we’ve gotten books on sleep from the library, and storybooks about The Lord’s Prayer and Joseph’s Coat of Many Color. We’ve prayed over and over again to keep nightmares away, and we’ve tried practice runs of how to handle a nightmare. The best bedtime routine, though, involves the art of storytelling, and when this involves me at my most deliriously tired state coupled with my crazily creative 5-year-old, the stories keep us up laughing far beyond the bedtime we’re trying to protect.
Tonight’s story is one I don’t want to forget, and hopefully these characters will be ones we revisit over and over again. Two pig brothers. The older one, Porker, is just like Jack, and his little brother, Pudge, is similar to Oliver. In the first episode, Porker and Pudge were playing t-ball together. Pudge wanted to play with Porker and his friends, but they would only give the little runt the job of retrieving the outfield hits. When the final ball disappears, Pudge’s skills of retrieval end up granting him hero status among the hammy players. And the second episode involved Pudge making fudge. (When Jack realized those words rhymed, we had to go with it).
I can’t think of a better way to end Jack’s very first day of kindergarten than laughing in a world of imagination all our own. It’s my favorite way to spend quality time with my oldest boy, the first child to make me laugh and steal my heart. Sending him to kindergarten at Inno–after a solid year of debating and stressing over where exactly he should be–feels exactly right and good for everyone in our family, and I could not be more proud of him.
I’m sure Monday will feel like our real first day. The first Monday morning, the beginning of an actual 4-day week of all-day school. Perhaps I’ll watch him more closely, walking away with his small class of Spanish Immersion students. And, it doesn’t take much for a mom to bring back all the memories of baby and toddlerhood to make the tears well up and pour down. Maybe I’ll remember his first day of preschool, when he couldn’t say his “s”s correctly and was still working on molars. Or I’ll probably get this image of him with a diaper on and wrists so chubby they looked the rubber-banded pudge. The emotions are all there and it will continue to sink in that my baby isn’t a baby anymore. He’s independent enough to spend loads of time away from me, taking care of himself, learning from someone else the ins and outs of this world. I wouldn’t trust any school with this responsibility, and I’m so grateful for the shelter of Innocademy. But no matter how grown up this boy gets, I hope to end our nights for years to come telling stories, knowing that no matter how far he goes, home is always where he’ll belong.