Wednesday, July 24, 2013

May the good Lord be with you...

...down every road you roam
And may sunshine and happiness surround you when you're far from home
And may you grow to be proud, dignified and true
And do unto others as you'd have done to you
Be courageous and be brave
And in my heart you'll always stay
Forever young, Forever young

-Rod Stewart, Forever Young

While the blog has become far less of a milestone marker lately, I couldn't let this one go by.
My baby boy is headed off to Kindergarten.

(photo from Jay's preschool end of year celebration)

I mean, are you serious?!  Can someone please tell me how we got from the tiny baby who made me a mom to this big kid?  (Oh wait.  He was not ever a "tiny baby."  He was a 10 lb 4 oz monster who appeared to be a 3 month old from the day he took his first breath.  But I digress.)  Kindergarten here we come.

(Yes, I look at Pinterest too much.  But I couldn't resist making the sign!)

"I want my picture taken, and I want a new backpack too!"

"Okay, the picture will do."

I am trying not to get too sappy about this transition.  Yes, this is a struggle for me, given my tendency to cry at even the lamest Hallmark commercial.  I have enough sappiness in my life, and it's not like this is going to be all that different for him.  He's been in full-time childcare since he was an infant, so he's used to being away from home for much of his days.  I'm certainly I am no stranger to trusting others to care for him, teach him cool stuff, or watch as he learns new things.  On an intellectual level, this should really be no different than changing schools.

But it's not, somehow.  It's SCHOOL.  It's the start of many years in the formal education system.  And if he takes after his daddy, perhaps many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many years - like 31 more.  (Son, here's a hint.  Academic veterinary medicine is a lovely career, but you'd best love school if you want to follow in those footsteps.  And you might want to find a very patient spouse who is willing to support you in those PhD years.)

Rockin' out to "We Are Young" on air guitar on the way to school.

How he would handle drop off on the first day was a little questionable ... he is simultaneously THRILLED to be headed to Kindergarten, and scared out of his mind.  I get that.  I spend much of my life in that thrilled-scared state. He freaked out at Meet the Teacher day, but today he walked in like a champ, as if he'd been there for years.  He immediately found a table of fellow Wolfpack loving friends.  It's gonna be a good school!

And old pro.

Making new friends before the bell even rings.

And just for the record, I did not cry a single tear.  Go me.

Working in education, I know that getting started on the right foot will have long lasting implications for this academic adventure he's embarking on.  I want him to love school, to love reading and writing, to love learning.  But more than that, I want him to learn to thrive in this crazy world - to make friends, to respect the wisdom of teachers, to get along with those who are different.  That whole "everything I need to know in life I learned in Kindergarten" stuff.  Oh, and to tie his shoes.  We gotta get on that one, like yesterday.

Follow the footprints!

And of course, I can't help but think about the hurdles he's overcome - the miracle we witnessed - that got him to this point.  An hour and a half of CPR, a week on total life support, infections and setbacks aplenty - all with no brain damage.  I'm planning to send the folks at CHOP a card to say thanks, yet again.  I hope it serves as a reminder to them that this is the reason that middle-of-the-night ECMO calls are worth it.  It's been almost exactly 3 years since that awful, life-changing night, and all of us are grateful that he is able to live, fully live, a regular 5 year old life today.

It's gonna be a very good year.