Kevin and I went to kindergarten orientation last week. I followed the teacher’s instructions to fill out a sticky note with Vincenzo’s name and the word “bus” and stick it on the transportation chart. Later we noticed that everyone else had included the parents’ names and phone numbers, as the teacher had apparently also instructed. I whined to Kevin, “Kindergarten’s haaaaarrrd,” as I added the new information to the sticky note.
I didn’t realize just how hard kindergarten was, though, until I got home and noticed the aforementioned sticky note on top of my parent info packet instead of on the chart at school like it was supposed to be. I didn’t know then that that was the easy part of kindergarten.
Despite my careful planning and neurotic double-checking of the bus schedule, we somehow showed up at the bus stop just as the bus was pulling up and we had to run the last 20 yards. On the first day of school. Ever. Nice.
(First bus ride picture blurry because, like I said—running.)
I had decided to drive down to the school after seeing V on the bus so I could drop off the bulky supplies that wouldn’t fit in his backpack. I got there just after the first bell rang and I headed straight to the classroom. There were the kindergarteners, bowed over coloring sheets at their tables already only…there was no Vincenzo. NO VINCENZO. In the right classroom, with the right teacher, the son I had put on the bus 30 minutes earlier was NOT THERE. And the teacher HAD NOT SEEN HIM.
I jetted down to the office where there was a long line of parents waiting to talk to the secretary, and I was just about to butt to the front of the line because I don’t know what their problems where but I was pretty sure none of them had LOST THEIR FRIGGIN’ FIVE-YEAR-OLD ON THE FIRST DAY OF FRIGGIN’ KINDERGARTEN…
…when a blessed angel wearing a fluorescent orange safety vest came plowing through the crowd, holding my son’s hand. He was clutching his teddy bear and looking a little disoriented, but nothing like the complete panicky maniac I felt like, especially when I realized the reason for the mix-up was because I hadn’t pinned the paper with his information on it to his shirt, as instructed at parent orientation night. If I had, he would have had an adult escort him from the bus to his teacher.
We walked to the classroom and Vincenzo flashed me the thumbs’ up sign. I’m so glad he’s him and not me.
As soon as I got in the car I started crying, and I’ve been crying off and on ever since—not just for my mistakes but because I think I was lying when I said I wasn’t going to get sappy about my firstborn baby going to school, to a place where he could be lost for half an hour and nobody might notice.
Kindergarten is hard.
But maybe only for one of us.