Christopher starts Kindergarten next week. In 9 days, he'll hold my hand and we'll walk with all the neighborhood kids about a half mile up the road to the elementary school. As soon as we get within a few feet of the crossing guard, he'll drop my hand, grasp the straps of his backpack, and pick up his pace. By the time he arrives at the front door, Number 1, he'll be trying to strike up conversation with the oldest and tallest boy he can find. When that older and cooler kid inevitably dismisses my new Kindergartener, he'll scan the crowd until he finds someone who looks more his size, perhaps a kid with a cool snake backpack, and stand as close to him as he can. Only then will he glance over his shoulder to check my status and position.
I'd be lying if I said that in the past year I thought this day would never come. Sure, Kindergarten felt all sorts of far away when we were struggling through the tantrums of two and the throwdowns of three and the constant negotiations of four. It's even felt far away for most of the summer as we've gone a little stir crazy with the slowed down pace and Matthew has become a somewhat annoying playmate. But even as far away as the first day of "real school" has seemed at times, I can absolutely believe that my kid is starting Kindergarten next week.
I know exactly how that first morning next Thursday is going to go because we've lived that same morning so many times over the past couple of months and even years. It happens every time we hit the playground, each time he gets dropped off in the gym childcare, whenever we arrive at a party or event where a gaggle of kids are running amuck. He's my independent one. Up for anything and ready for adventure. And even though I'm concerned we didn't get through the bucket list of summer learning I planned for us (learning to read, knowing how to spell and write his last name, and forming his letters perfectly from top to bottom) I know he's ready for Kindergarten. Let's just hope he can sit still for a couple of minutes.