Last night, I scooped up Luca and sat him on my lap. “You know. It’s perfectly ok to be scared about going to school. Everyone gets scared. Your teacher is scared. Your principal is scared. I was scared every first day of school of my life.”
This did not have the comforting effect I had hoped.
Elijah shouted from the other room, “Not everyone is scared about school!” and I muttered a swear that would be repeated over and over again by the boys throughout the night.
I could not sleep. What is wrong with me? Why do I tie myself into knots about my kid’s first day of school? It’s not my first day of school. I would totally kill it as a first grader. I can write in cursive!
This morning, I channeled all of my anxiety into Grover the dog, who I was convinced was dying.
“If he dies, I am moving to New Mexico to live in the desert,” I proclaimed.
“Why New Mexico and are you planning for us to live with you?” Diana asked.
We made it to school, but not before blocking someone’s driveway with my car and almost slamming into an SUV while parallel parking.
It was raining, so the painful drop off was inside. Eli ejected himself from his family with shocking enthusiasm. But that was fine by me. I needed to concentrate all my efforts on freaking Luca out. “It’s ok. It’s ok. It’s ok,” I mumbled to him while squeezing his hand way too hard.
We made it to the gym where kids with emotionally stable parents were waving goodbye and joining their classes. As we guided Luca to his line, he stopped short and said, “I’m scared.”
He then looked up at me while chocking back tears, looking for some kind of support. This was my chance to set him off on the right track. To give him a speech about manning up and facing your fears and that this will be the best year of his life.
I just stared back at him with my eyes also brimming with tears.
Diana swooped in and grabbed him by the hand. She comforted him in a way that only a normal human can. She also hailed the teacher over for a little chat about first day jitters. His teacher was great and peppy and got everyone out the door, but not before Luca looked back at me with an expression that could level a town.
We drove home in silence. I considered just going back to bed for the day, but I could tell Diana needed a little Rickless time.
After moping around the office for a few hours I got this email from Luca’s teacher, by way of Diana:
“He is doing just great! He really jumped right in as we left the gym and he helped out a friend who couldn't find their locker. He's been smiling and participating and looks like a different person than the one you said good-bye to.
I hope that helps! I'll keep an eye on him, too, for the rest of the day, and I hope you get a good report after school…”
I felt much better, happy with the knowledge I had a full year before having to go through this again.