As far as I go

Traditionally, it is held as a rite of passage to take your children to their classroom on the first day of school. My mother did it for me. I in turn did it for my oldest child – once. That was all I needed to do and that was enough for me.

However, things are done a little differently in our school district and for that I am truly grateful. Klein ISD does a “Meet the Teacher” Day before school starts and the kids can go up to the school, usually the Friday before school starts, and physically meet their teacher(s) and spend a little time in the classroom if they would like. This is also a perfect time to drop off all their school supplies.

Long gone are the days where the kids have to tote heavy and overloaded bags of school supplies to school on the first day of school. In our district, the kids have already done that. For most of them, this is just that, the first of many days of school just like it. For this I am grateful.

With Andrew I learned very quickly that the first day was just too much for me to handle. Yes, it was nice to get that picture with their teacher and whatnot but you know what? I did not miss it on years that followed if I forgot the camera or did not get it. I did not need the stress. I did not need the headache of trying to find a parking space or trying to fight the crowds of the other 1600+ people trying to do the same thing. It was just too much for me to handle.

So when Andrew went off to First Grade, we went and met his teacher on Friday and dropped off his school supplies. I got a picture with his teacher then. At least I think I did. I honestly cannot remember at this point. I would have to go back through the pictures and look. It is irrelevant at this point. Then on Monday morning, bright and early, we walked out the front door to the bus stop that just happened to be at the end of our driveway and we waited for the bus. I got pictures of his first day of school as he got on the bus – the first of many days just like it. I believe I even got pictures of him getting off that bus that day – the first of many days just like it.

When it came time for Kyle to get on the school bus for Kindergarten, it had become second nature. I did not think anything about it. Yes, he was my “baby” and I was sending him off to school but it was the same old song and dance with the same old crowds. If I did not want to do it again with Andrew, why would I want to do it again with Kyle? They needed to learn their independence somewhere and it started on that big day. This was their big day. I was not going to stifle that for Kyle. He was so excited about riding the school bus. Besides, if anything went wrong, he had his older brother to help him out. Things would be alright.

Once again, the Friday before school started we went and met his Kindergarten teacher and we hung around the school a little bit. It took a little longer this time because I had two children to meet teachers and it just takes time to meet the needs of both children. Kyle put all of his supplies in his classroom and he walked around looking at all the stuff. He was excited. Andrew showed him around the school. It was all going to be just fine. Then on Monday morning we walked out the front door and across the street to the bus stop and I got my first day of school pictures as Kyle got on the bus – the first of many days just like it. I got pictures of him getting off that same bus, the first day of many days just like it. It all worked out just fine.

By the time Lance came around, I was a pro at the first day of school routine and loading them up on the bus. I did the same thing for him, all over again.

Then we changed schools. The district build Blackshear Elementary at the back of our neighborhood and we got rezoned to attend there. Lance would be attending there for first grade on. He was disappointed that he would not get to ride the bus anymore but he was excited about the new adventures ahead of him. Of course, now after 2 years of riding his bike he sometimes asks why he can’t just ride the bus to school.

Today was the first day of school and we do the same thing – almost. I go up to the school with him since I do not let him ride his bike all the way to the school by himself.

This is as far as I go. I go to the bike racks and watch him lock up his bike and then he goes into the school by himself. You can see that he already found one of his friends when we got there. 
The routine may have changed, but I did not go inside or walk him to his classroom. I got my first day of school picture there where I would leave him every day of school, the first of many days ahead like it.
His friend patiently waited while he locked of his bike and he put his bike helmet in his backpack. He double checked to make sure he had everything before I left to go home. See for him, it is not a quick run across the street back into the house if he forgot anything. I have go ride the almost 2 miles back home and then come back with it. We always double check. 
Here he is ready to go into the school for the day. He will enter into those doors on the right into the school cafeteria where he will wait until they release them to go to their classrooms, the same thing he will do every morning this school year. This is his routine.
I’ve learned over the years with the three children that it does not mean that I do not love them because I do not take them into class. It simply means that I let them be who they are. It does not mean that I did not love them because I did not cry the day I dropped them off for Kindergarten. I did not. I celebrated and embraced that day. It was their transition to the next phase of their life. I was more saddened by the day I dropped my oldest off for freshman orientation at the high school than the day I dropped him off for Kindergarten. I am sure I will be more saddened next year when he will be a senior in high school. I will be excited and saddened all the same. That day will mark a step toward the next phase in his life, one that I helped get him to and one that he is ready for. I did not think that I would be ready for him to get his driver’s license but we will be celebrating when he does. 
So this is as far as I go…just to the door…the rest of the world awaits them inside…may it be a sweet and fulfilling.

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