“I don’t believe in many things, but in you, baby, I do…”
-Simply Red, “For Your Babies”…this is my song for E-Man
It’s been a month since E-Man started kindergarten. One long month since he has left the comforting arms of pre-school and stepped into the big world of the public school system.
Kindergarten is no joke. It’s not like the half day kindergarten of our past…it’s a full day of actual school. Two hours of language arts, almost as much math, and also science, social studies…the whole nine. He catches the bus at 8:30 in the morning and does not get home until almost 4PM! It’s a long day for a six year old. It’s also a long day for the 28 year old who happens to be his mother. Having Ethan gone means that I have to be the sole entertainer of Smiley, who has made it quite clear that I am not nearly as much fun to pester as his big brother is.
E-Man comes home with ‘homework’ at least four nights a week. He already had a ‘project’ to turn in. I have had to brush up on my elementary school project skills. His first field trip is in three weeks. He is already asking me if this and that kid can come and sleep over. He comes home with tales of the cafeteria. He wants to learn how to play guitar. He is blossoming into an actual person before our very eyes.
It may sound cliché, but it seems like only yesterday, I was bringing him home (and by home, I mean to my mom’s house, who I was living with at the time) from the hospital. There I was, 22 years old, alone, and terrified. (If you want the back story as to why I was alone, I wrote about it on Mindbling.) I was a fumbling, clumsy, weepy mess.
Having a baby was not something that I had planned for…something that I did not even know that I wanted until I got it. Parenting for me was trial and error. I made my fair share of mistakes (still do), I know I did stupid things and didn’t always make the best decisions. I was young and selfish. But I tried my best, I did and I still do. That’s all any parent can do really. Try your best, make mistakes, brush away tears, kiss the boo boos, rejoice in the successes, do what you think is right. It may not always BE right and that is just something you have to accept. Just do it in hopes that when you send your mini-you out into the world (or in E-Man’s case, kindergarten) they are prepared to deal with the trials and triumphs that are sure to come their way.
He seems to be having fun and learning a lot. He has an awesome teacher who is an adorable and bubbly person. You can tell that she loves the kids and loves teaching. She is young and has not been jaded yet, I guess! I have the utmost respect for teachers because that is what my mom does for a living. Sitting in on her classes over the years has made me appreciate what teachers do. Dealing with bratty kids and even brattier parents is def not my cup of tea…I would never, ever do it so I am very appreciative of the people who do. No way in hell would you catch me dealing with someone else’s kid’s crappy attitude, dirty hands, or God forbid…their vomit. Shudder.
What I was not prepared for was my kid getting off the bus with a giant scratch on his face from some mean little girl…the same little girl who has been hitting him on top of the head for two weeks. These are kindergarten kids for God sake! How are they already MEAN? I have told him to ignore her, to stay away from her, to tell her to STOP if she is hurting him. I told him that it is NEVER ok for him to hit her back, even if she hits him first. “You can’t hit girls.” I said. And yet the irony of the situation is, I bet he is shorter and smaller then this chick. He is very small for his age. Strong, but small. Just like his dad.
I called the school. I did. I am ‘that’ mom I guess. I am waiting for a call back as I am sitting here typing this. If I do not receive it, I will be going to the school. I have seen the effects of bullying almost destroy Drummer’s life a couple years ago when he ended up with a concussion from some kid on his bus. Same school district that we live in. I will be damned if I let it happen to E-Man, too.
It’s so weird for me, having a school age child now. All of these things are things that I never had to worry about just four short weeks ago. I could keep E-Man under my wing and protect him from all that is wrong in this world. But now, this is the start of his real education. Not just the reading and math…but also the OTHER education. The moment when you start to realize that you are your own person, separate from your parents. You realize that life isn’t always rosy, that people are not always nice or good, that sometimes you fall, no matter how hard you try to keep your balance. You learn what it means to be a friend and you learn that you are just not going to like everyone. All of a sudden, it seems to matter how your hair is cut and what you are wearing. Yes, even for boys. E-Man’s backpack, shoes, and every shirt that he owns has the name Tony Hawk on it somewhere. It matters to him now.
Part of me wishes that I could freeze this moment in time…that I could keep him at six years old forever. But a bigger part of me knows that letting him grow up is better. This is the beginning of the rest of his life. Life’s road is just now beginning for him. Who knows where it will lead…the future is wide open. He is the definition of fresh start…the freshest start possible because this is his first one. This kid can be anything…a doctor, a lawyer, even president one day. But I will settle for successful…and most of all…happy.