I left the girls with Tom last night as he finished what felt like the endless job of canning salsa and preserving blackberries.
Why did I have to leave the girls on a Monday evening?
I had to go to the school for a kindergarten orientation meeting. See, I often forget what it was like for me when Alyssa started kindergarten. Kindergarten, for her, was her first real experience with school. Yes, she went to day care off and on over the years but never full-time and never for a few months at a time. I was a wreck when Alyssa was about to start kindergarten.
It was full day. She’d have to eat lunch there. Would she eat? Would she get enough to eat, to drink? Would she talk to her teacher? Would she make friends?
I needn’t have feared. Alyssa likes rules and once I explained to her that the rule was that when her teacher asked her a question, she HAD to respond, she was fine. She even made some pretty great friends.
Then, just before she started second grade, we moved. And I worried again. She’d be the new kid. She’d have to start all over. And after Christmas…she started riding the bus. The worry, the stress, the fears all came back.
But now Alyssa’s going into fifth grade. And she’s fine. She loves the bus. She has awesome friends and I love the school system, the teachers, the principal, even the bus drivers manage to at least seem to care about every single kid. I feel very lucky to have my girls at this school.
As I was walking into the school last night for the kindergarten meeting, one mom asked another if she was ready for kindergarten. The answer was, “No.”
I realized that this year doesn’t feel as huge to me as the year before last or even last year. Last year Olivia was in the kinderkid program, a half-day, five-day-a-week program for kids who aren’t quite ready for kindergarten but are a bit ahead of typical preschool.
She rode the bus and it scared me so, so much. I mean, she was so little. I worried about her so much. But she’s grown in the past year, not only physically but also emotionally and socially. Olivia has gained a confidence in her own physical abilities that I am in awe of. I trust her ability to get through the day at school.
Yes, I’ll be packing her lunches from now until probably sixth grade but I’ve done that for Alyssa too. No biggie.
It helps, too, that the girls will be on the bus together. Alyssa can help her sister on and off the bus both in the morning and in the afternoon.
Will the first few weeks be a bit of an adjustment for us all? Of course, but we can do this.
I mean, come on, it’s just kindergarten.