My Son’s First Day of School

The grand adventure begins tomorrow, or perhaps I should say that it continues. My eldest is heading off to kindergarten. After much stress and debate we decided to send him to day school. I don’t know who is more excited, him or me.

We spent a big chunk of the day at my folk’s house where we enjoyed a fabulous Labor Day barbecue and talked about what it is going to be like to be in kindergarten. I told him a little bit about my experience and related how it was way back in kindergarten that I met G.

In a corner of the living room my father, grandfather and I shared stories about what school was like for us. The kindergarten classes of 1919, 1948 and 1974 recounted tales that in some ways will not be so different from the class of 2006.

In some ways it was rather surreal how some things never change. I began school a relatively short time before the end of the Vietnam War. My father was a few short years after WWII and my grandfather started during WWI. Not a very impressive comment about people, is it.


We spent a little time getting his school supplies together. There were new kippot to buy, a new backpack, some pants, shirts, a couple of books and some assorted odds and ends. And throughout all of this there was this little smile on his face and a look in his eyes that made it clear that he is aware that this is a big event.

I suspect that tomorrow is going to be hard for me. He is so very big now. I used to carry this little boy tucked into the nook of my arm. I could hold him and pretend to be the Heisman Trophy. But not anymore.

From time to time he still falls asleep in the car and I still get the chance to carry him in to bed. Only now when I hold him I feel his feet dangling against the middle of my legs and at 45 pounds he has metamorphed from a light package to something more challenging. Now on the odd occasions that I have more than a five minute walk from the car to the bed I begin to notice the extra weight.

The baby talk disappeared ages ago. He still makes the occasional mistake. The other day he said that he wanted to be the betterest but the big guy doesn’t ever call me da da anymore. He doesn’t always want to crawl into my lap to play with his toys. Oh, he’ll still do it from time to time but I see the impact of the older brothers and sisters of his friends and I see him weighing things.

He is more cautious about doing things that mark him as being a baby.

Tonight as he lay down to go to sleep he asked me if Grandpa S. knew that he was going to start school. I said that I thought so and he told me that he missed him and I said that I did too. And then he told me that he loved me and asked if I thought that my daddy missed his daddy.

He is really starting to understand it all. He gets that grandpa is not coming back. He told me that he wished that Grandpa was still here because when he learns how to read he wants to read him a story.

I was happy that it was dark because that caught me off guard. My grandfather would have so very much loved to have heard that.

Well, I have rambled and muttered enough. Hold onto your loved ones and hug them tight because time has a way of moving all too quickly.

In a few short hours my little man will walk into class and I’ll head off to work. If I pass you in the parking lot you’ll forgive me if I don’t look up or say goodbye because I think that even though it is a happy day it is going to be a hard moment.

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