I’d wanted to give myself time to let the idea sink in — that you were going to start Kindergarten the next day. I think it happened a bit for Mommy and I the night before you went. We suddenly realized you were going to get on a bus and the doors were going to close and the bus was going to pull away — without any of us along for the ride! We didn’t have much time to dwell on it the night before because of our concern over you having everything you needed for that first day, then off to bed we went for the early morning ahead. And, it did come early!
We got you dressed. Eating breakfast was a challenge for you — never one to eat right when you wake up, you were also just way too excited to go. You wanted to go NOW! I found myself looking and listening to you, wondering what it was like when I was your age, going to Kindergarten. Was I ever as eager as you were? The same confidence that you have? Ready to ride a bus at 5 years old — transferring to a second bus, no less, before your final destination? I smiled proudly to myself. No, I think you have more confidence than I did!
We drove out to the end of Southview Ct, just down the hill from the house I so desperately wished we would have been in for your first day of school (that’s another story!) You about flew out of the van, still with the white clam-shell on top, full of vacation stuff, the back still filled with toys and God-knows-what. And, you started walking to the corner of the road. No worries.
When we caught up with you, the wait was on. You posed for a few pics for Mommy and then scanned Noxon Rd. for the sight of flashing bus stop lights. At 7:44AM on the button, your bus driver Joe pulled up and opened the door. Mommy and I, smiling from ear to ear for you, feeling your excitement, hugged you hurriedly and reminded you to hug your sister before you left. With that you climbed those steps without hesitation. You never looked back. My confident boy. Joe introduced himself yelling and waving, “I’m Joe, and I’ll be his bus driver.” I think Mommy and I grew a lot closer to Joe as soon as those doors shut.
In that instant, your world expanded and Mommy and I couldn’t be with you to share it. You had just begun a major part of your life, of which the bulk of the time, we will not be witness to. At the time it happened, I realized it, but it hadn’t sunk in. As I write here now, my eyes are a little wetter than they were — as if I were writing about 20 year old nostalgia — though it only happened 3 days ago, on Wednesday. I scanned the windows in the bus as it started to pull away, looking to see if you found seat, looking for one last chance to wave good bye to you, to see your smiling face and most of all to let you know that I was proud of you. But, I couldn’t see you. Apparently, bus windows have now all been tinted since the 21+ years ago that I was last on one.
Mommy and I suddenly realized that we had planned to follow your bus (yeah, we didn’t tell you) — I remember feeling that morning, as I saw the taillights of your bus move on down the road, like my feet were planted. It all happened so fast, there was a sort of shock to the whole thing, I guess. We hurried back to the van, carrying Kyra, hopped in and took off, and had no idea where your bus went! We tried to sneak a peek of you transferring from one bus to the next, but we couldn’t get close to the middle school where you do your “Arlington Transfer”. I have only what I imagine you looked like doing that — your trademark serious face, on a mission, going from one bus to the next, getting to school and doing it excellently! And, again, I smile.
Instead, we drove to St. Martin’s School to meet you there and to snap a couple of pictures of you going into school. Of course, your Arlington Transfer bus arrived later than expected, as Mommy and Kyra and I waited. Finally, a bus pulled up a little after 8:30AM, the doors opened and off you marched with some of your friends, new and old. You looked just as when we had left you. You gave us a smile and a wave and sat with your classmates on the step of the school until your teacher came to lead you inside.
I got to tell you quickly how proud I was of you, give you hug and tell you to have a good day. Then, off you went. I thought about you a lot that day: Wondered what you said when the teacher spoke to you at the start of class that day. Wondered what time you ate lunch. Wondered if you were EATING your lunch. Wondered if you were thirsty or hungry, in general. Wondered if you were having fun. And, lots of things like that.
We drove back to Southview Ct to pick you up that afternoon. We were there in plenty of time, expecting your bus around 3:50PM, which came and went … then 4:00PM, 4:15PM, 4:30PM — getting worried now. I called to get the number of Arlington School’s Transportation Department. (Yeah, we didn’t have the number on us … or your route number. Bad Mommy and Daddy!) When we finally go a hold of them, they told us not to worry — the buses got out late. Finally, just shy of 5PM, a bus pulled up on the other side of the road and Mommy ran over to get you off. A little mix-up on the first day — Mommy and I were worried about you — were you going to hate the bus now, were you scared, were you worried? Of course, you took the whole thing in stride. I don’t know if you were worried, you simply got off that bus walked across the street with Mommy like you were a commuter coming home on Metro North from a day’s work in the City — obviously tired, obviously hungry, both of which we expected.
You’re initial summary of the day: “it was kinda boring!” Excellent. Boring. I guess that shows us that, once again, you’re a smart guy, ready to hit the ground running — get down to brass tacks. As the week went on, the days became more interesting and I trust the next full week — yep, 5 WHOLE DAYS — will be even better.
Mommy and I got a glimpse of your new little life at the parent orientation on the evening of your second day of school. We got to see where you sit, look at some of your pictures you drew, and generally check out your room and hear from Mrs. Christie, your teacher. Now when I wonder what you’re doing, at least I can see you in that room, at your table, being your charming self. Now I know what Grammy felt like when I started living that new little life almost 35 years ago — I had no idea then, but now I understand the stories she told me in a very different light.
I realize that this is the first of many stages of letting you go out into the big world. It’s hard. There’s a real sappy, goofy song I don’t really like called “Time in a Bottle” — but there’s one phrase in the song: “If I could save time in a bottle…” That’s exactly what I’d like to do whenever I think about you spreading wings and expanding your world. But, at the same time, I want you to go. I love to see you experience things and learn and grow. I love to see that Brendan Meyer brand of confidence, curiosity and willingness to experience new things. I love to watch you shine. You’ve yet to cease to amaze me and I doubt you ever will. Congratulations, buddy! Welcome to a bigger world.