Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Obligatory First Day of Kindergarten Post

I felt like a cheeseball for getting excited about Nels's first day of Kindergarten. After all, it's a fairly inevitable and universal experience in the developed world. (I know there are exceptions, but it's still a very common thing.) It seems kind of like making a big deal about your baby's first poopy diaper or your toddler's first tantrum.

But, hey, it's one of the world's big Hallmark moments for a reason. Starting formal schooling is a major life change. Nels is a really sensitive kid; judging from his expression here, I'm pretty sure he knows what he's in for:

I never realized how many preconceived notions I had about the first day of school until the day actually arrived and nothing happened the way I thought it would. In my imagination, we would take pictures of Nels smiling in the sunshine in his spiffy new school outfit. We'd walk to the bus stop from whence would arise an excited murmur as we mingled with neighborhood parents and checked out all the kids' backpacks. Then the bus would pull up and a line of adorable children would form. We would snap Nels's picture as he stood framed in the doorway of the bus with his head turned back to smile at us as he embarked upon his new adventure.

The reality was quite different. Nels was cantankerous about having his picture taken. He'd insisted on wearing the new Star Wars Lego t-shirt I'd bought him that had turned out to be too short, so his outfit left something to be desired.

We were the only people at the bus stop. It was a little depressing. And it was foggy. I'm all for fog and solitude and gloom in general, but in this case, when the bus pulled up, I felt like I was sending Nels off to Hogwarts.

Now, the bus did not pull over to the curb at all, but stopped right in the middle of the street. Without a boisterous crowd of fellow students to join in with, the distance to the bus became a vast chasm which would be unspeakably sad for Nels to cross alone.

I was faced with a dilemma. Of all the first-day-of-school photos I'd imagined looking back on some day, not a one of them contained my backside. Walking Nels to the bus would ruin all the shots. But maternal instinct (I was relieved to find I have some, actually) won out over vanity, and I walked Nels to the bus.

He marched up the steps and never looked back. The kindly bus driver took one look at my face and said, "First day?" Of course Shaun's work garb and camera with its huge lens were a bit of a giveaway too. That bus driver was majorly comforting. I wanted to hug him.

I cried a little at this point.

And a little more here.

And that's what it was like sending Nels off for his first day of Kindergarten. Which he liked just about as much as his face at the beginning of the day might indicate.


Jana said...

Now,now my friend, you have a very fine backside:) And I get to see it in person soon!!!

josieO said...

Aw, I cried a little bit, too. The kindly bus driver did me in.

Gretchen said...

Ohhhh, my eyes are misty... it is a special picture worthy event even if it wasn't ideal. By the way it seems that Nels has grown a lot since earlier pictures! You're a very good mama. =0)

kylee said...

How did the next day go? (sorry)

Unknown said...

I love the look or the bus driver's face!

Gypmar said...

Kylee, he'd still rather leave it than take it, but he likes it better now that he's more used to it :)

They do a lot of great stuff--he's just going through a phase where he thinks everything should be all fun all the time, and if it's not, well then something is wrong with the world.