I don't know how many times over the last few months I've wished this day would come. It was practically all I could think about during certain moments. It's the promise that I repeated to myself every time I broke up yet another brotherly squabble or cleaned up the result of overly-imaginative play: school will start soon. School will start soon. School will start soon.
But no matter how many times this summer I said, "Put some pants on!" or "Enough tattling!" or "Leave your brother alone!" (and I said those things approximately 4,627 times a day), apparently it wasn't enough. Because y'all? School started today. And I'm surprisingly sad about it (although not like when he went to Kindergarten, thank goodness, because that was ugly.)
I don't think it's necessarily because I'll miss Colin so much. I know I won't miss the constant refereeing between he and Cameron. I guess it's just because, no matter how old your child is, it's still your child and you hate to just thrust them out there into the relative unknown. I mean, Colin has been in school for two years now - but each year has presented its own challenges (remember this? And this?). There are new teachers and new rules and procedures to adjust to, a new set of classmates, new concepts to grasp. And I wonder: will he flourish or flounder?
Colin is so sweetly excited about it all. Last night he picked out the outfit he wanted to wear, and asked if he could put it on and "try it out" before this morning. He made sure his brand new shoes were still spotless and his brand new Mario Bros. backpack was hanging by the door. And when I put him to bed, he writhed around under his covers for a minute shrieking, "Mommy, I'm so excited!"
His enthusiasm tugs at my heart. I want it to stay like this for him. I want him to go to school and have the most fabulous year he's had so far. I want second grade to be an amazing experience: nothing but progression and discovery and enrichment and delight. I want to shield him from everything even remotely unpleasant.
But that's impossible.
So, like I've done on the first day of school for the past two years, I took a deep breath and sent my little lamb into what could either be a pretty green pasture or a lion's den. I blinked back tears as I watched him walk in, proudly prepared on the outside but with a whiff of insecurity about him. I acted like it didn't bother me when he refused a goodbye kiss. I pretended I was nothing but one hundred percent excited and confident that he was going to have an awesome and fabulous year yaaaay!
And then? I cried my face off. Because I can't protect Colin.
But I have to trust him.