The end of summer came fast and I kept getting more excited as the school year approached. It was like waiting to go on an exotic vacation. I was as anxious as could be. Then the night before school started I was putting the final items into Jackson’s backpack and it hit me. My baby was going to school. All day! No more picking him up at 11:30 a.m. and taking him out to lunch at McDonald’s. Gone will be our lunch dates and shopping at his favorite store - Costco. My baby and best buddy was going to be gone, all freaking day!!!! What the hell was I supposed to do all day without him?! A few tears appeared. My heart began to ache. I began to realize that Kindergarten sucked! Big time. I began to hate Kindergarten, the kidnapper.
The next day I took my baby to school. Jackson was excited and happy. He didn’t even notice me as I left (ugh!). For the first week of school his teacher and I planned to transition him in slowly so I would be picking him up at 1 p.m. instead of him going the full day. I left the school a little teary eyed and heartbroken. I couldn’t wait to come pick him up at 1 p.m. I went home. It was quiet. Too quiet. The sounds of summer were gone. I sat on the couch and pouted. Yup, I pouted. I was bored and had no idea what to do with myself. I kept hating Kindergarten. I did a little laundry, petted my dog, petted the cats, and hated Kindergarten. Finally 1 p.m. arrived and I got my baby back. The world was back to normal.
Yesterday Jackson went to school for the whole day for the first time. He rode the bus to school and rode it home. Luckily I had a meeting that lasted all of the day so I wasn’t sitting around hating Kindergarten so much. Which leads me to today. I am sitting in my favorite place in Spokane, the Rockwood Bakery, finally reunited after 3 months of no bakery days. I met my friend here for coffee and we chatted for an hour or so and now I am writing. And guess what? I don’t hate Kindergarten as much as I thought. Turns out I like this free time. A whole day to myself is exactly what it is cracked up to be – wonderful! I have a ton of errands to run but I’m in no hurry. I have time. 6 hours to be exact.
Don’t get me wrong, my heart is still broken, well maybe bruised now. I miss Jackson. It is weird not to have him around. I don’t have anyone to make lunch for. I don’t get to hang out on the floor rolling around with my baby. No afternoon cuddles. It is a bit lonely and quiet without him. Now he is riding a bus to and from school and having his own experiences without me. That’s hard to adjust to.
It doesn’t matter if your child had special needs or is neurotypical, letting our children go off to Kindergarten and start a life of their own without us next to them all day is traumatic. There are no words for the feelings that come with this experience. But it is also what we all dreamed of for our children. To grow and experience life. Kindergarten is the first step to them starting a life of their own. A rite of passage if you will. Jackson will always be my baby, Kindergarten or high school won’t change that. It will however change him. He will become his own person, and I look forward to watching him grow and transform into who he is to become.As for Kindergarten, well I suppose it is not so bad. Oscar Wilde said “The aim of life is self-development. To realize one’s nature perfectly – that is what each of us is here for.” And that is what Kindergarten is for too.