This is just the beginning… sure I can look back at his first day of t-ball or when he got stitches or the day that he rode a bike for the first time and have a feeling of pride. But the moment I saw my son walk off to one of his first experiences of school it struck something in me and I was emotional wreck.
There I am, sitting a same lunch room. The same lunch room that my son will be eating his lunch at school come August. My son is sitting on my lap, more nervous than me… or so we thought. We are surrounded by parents we don’t know. By kids that my son has no clue who their name is but one of them will be his best friend in September I’m sure.
The principal arrives and stands in front of the class… er lunch room. There is this rush of guilt running through my veins. I don’t know what I did wrong but something tells me that the principal is going to get onto me for something. Did I do something wrong on the playground? Did I lie to a teacher saying that our dog (we never had a dog growing up) ate my homework? I don’t know but I wonder why in the hell I’m nervous.
I never even went to this school, the principal looks younger than me, but just as stern as the principal I had growing up as a kid. As she is talking to us, I have to remind myself that this is not the time to tell my son that she will quickly become the most feared person in your young life. That is until you move to a Jr. High, then it will be that principal. In fact, I joke with our receptionist at my job that it sounds like I’m being called to the principal’s office when she announces, “Brandon to the front desk… Brandon to the front desk.” when my lunch is delivered.
Again, I shouldn’t be the nervous one here.
She explains that at some point they are going to start the separation process. Kids will go off in a room… and probably have fun, while the parents take what could be the hardest test of our lives… filling out enrollment forms for our child’s first day of school and we have to memorize when school starts, the drop of schedule, the pick up schedule, and whether or not we want to put him in A.P. classes come high school. But before we get to that, the kids are divided into classes.
I am sitting there in the lunch room thinking that my son is going to announce to his whole class, and to who could be his future kindergarten teacher that he farted. Which will l and me in the principal’s office all over again, because I have “that” kid.
As the kids line up the principal asks them to turn around and wave good-bye to their parents. When I look back Good-bye doesn’t seem like the best choice of words for this time. Good-bye’s seem permanent to me. Good-bye makes it feel like I will never hear from my son again. But none-the-less the kids turn around and wave bye… each kid… but my son. Who marched right off with the teacher on his way to a college scholarship. Hopefully, if he doesn’t become the class clown and actually give a blip about his education, unlike his father.
I hope that I have taught him something over the last 6 years.
As the kids make their way on their next step in life, a tear runs down my eye. The one tear turns into two, soon three, and so on. My wife looks over at me and asks, “Are you crying?”
“No… allergies… they are the worst this year.”
“Stop it, you are going to make me cry!”
I fully admit now that I was crying indeed. I’m not afraid to say it. I sat there watching our son walk off into the unknown, wondering where the last 6 years has gone. It seems like just yesterday, I was holding him in my arms in the hospital with a huge smile of excitement on my face.
Now, he is getting ready to walk the halls of the local elementary school, tomorrow he will be wanting the keys to the car, and the next he will be leaving our house for good. But this was Kindergarten Round-up! Why the hell was crying? It wasn’t his first day of school. I mean you can only imagine what it is going to be like when his first day of school rolls around. I’m already crying. At Kindergarten Round-up of all things.
This is what being a father has turned me into. An emotional wreck. It isn’t that I’m a wuss or anything, but it is because this is my own flesh and blood. This is just the beginning… sure I can look back at his first day of t-ball or when he got stitches or the day that he rode a bike for the first time and have a feeling of pride. But the moment I saw my son walk off to one of his first experiences of school it struck something in me.
It made me realize that all of my parenting for the last 6 years, have lead up to this point. The next 12 will lead up to the day that he leaves for good and will only come back on weekends. But this is where we are… sending our first child off to school. The kid who has been there for me through thick and thin. Through a job change, a lay off, another job, through my worst as a parent, and yet he still says that he loves me each and every night. He gives me a hug and wants me to build Legos with him.
6 years, to this point that I cried at his kindergarten round-up… and I’m sure it won’t be the last time cry when the wave of emotion of how grown up my son has become.
Because I am a dad.