You just get one of these, don’t you? And I’m happy and devastated I could be there for Elijah’s.
For some reason, Luca decided to sleep in this morning. I think it was because he wanted me to dump my panic exclusively on Elijah. And dump I did. I paced around, unable to eat the pancake breakfast Diana had prepared. A full hour before we had to be at school, I was declaring us late and the day ruined.
Diana smartly gave me simple, mind occupying tasks. Take dog out. Find shoes. Brush boys’ teeth. But I still couldn’t calm down. What if he gets scared? What if he has to go pee pee? Or worse, poo poo? We should have broken into the school over the weekend to practice walking to the gym.
Elijah, on the other hand, was only concerned that Diana not put cheese on his turkey sandwich. And as yin to my bowel clenched yang, Diana calmly gave Eli bits of first day advice.
“If you see a kid who is by himself or scared, go over and introduce yourself. Try to make them feel better.”
“What if Eli is the one who is scared or by himself?” I shouted into my fist. I checked and rechecked his backpack. Luca, who was now awake, stayed close to the walls, trying to avoid eye contact.
We drove the 2 blocks to school because what if we were late? What? If? We? Were? Late?
Our instructions were to line up in a special place at 9am sharp. We found a mass of parents and kids milling around. It took every ounce of self control I had to stop from screaming at everyone to get in line now or else we’d be in big trouble.
Eli immediately found his pal, Charlie and they held hands, which eliminated the last bits of anxiety they had. I realized I was holding Diana’s hand in a vice grip without knowing.
The boys found some other of their pals, including Lincoln from down the street. Lincoln was having a harder time with his first day of school and seemed to be pretty nervous. I gave Lincoln a reassuring look that said, “I am panicking too, Lincoln. It doesn’t get better with age.”
A bell sounded from inside the school and the doors swung open. Instinctively, the kids lined up and the parents drifted away. I bent down to Eli and whispered, “I love you, pal,” through tear blurred eyes.
He took pity on me and said, “I love you too.”
And then he was off.