April 23, 2011 by heartonsleevereview
We stand side-by-side at the entrance of the school.
My daughter’s first day of kindergarten.
She is gripping my hand in hers, and I relish the feel of her tiny fingers wrapped between mine. She looks up at me with her beautiful brown eyes, and flashes a toothy grin. I smile back down at her, taking a mental snap shot of this exact moment. She is my world, my everything. When I was younger, I didn’t want children; I couldn’t imagine my life without her now.
“Ready to go?” I ask her.
“Yep. I’m ready,” she replied, and still holding onto my hand, she leads us both up the stairs and through the doors of the school.
The hallway is littered with children, all talking excitedly to their friends, and the hall fills with laughter and general commotion. We weave through the crowd and find her classroom. She lets go of my hand and plants both of hers against the swinging door and with all of her might, shoves the door inward and runs inside the room. She’s spotted a few of her friends already, and immediately, they are on their knees, playing.
A woman walks over to me and introduces herself as my daughter’s teacher. I extend my hand to shake her already outstretched one, and we make small talk while other parents bring their kids in. I watch as a little boy clings to his father’s leg, his chubby face buried into the man’s thigh. You can tell he’s terrified, and is not ready for this day. The dad doesn’t look too much better. He’s fighting back tears as he reassures his son everything is going to be okay. I look at the little boy, then find my own daughter and smile when I see her building a wall out of blocks, and her stuffed rabbit is inside the wall. She catches my glimpse, smiles and waves at me. I wave back.
I walk over to the man and the scared boy, kneel down to the boy’s level and put my hand on his back. He flinches slightly, then looks precariously at me, his eyes red and puffy from crying.
“Hi,” I said. “What’s your name?”
“Sam,” he says quietly. He is looking me over, unsure of what to think of me.
“Hi Sam. I know you’re kind of scared to be here, and that’s okay. I just wanted to introduce you to my little girl, and maybe you two can play together. Would that be alright?”
Sam looked up at his father, who nodded “yes” at him, and Sam returned his gaze to me, and said, “okay.”
I held out my hand for Sam to take, and he did. I was surprised at how tightly he was holding mine. Strong grip for such a little guy. Together, we walked over to my daughter and her friends, and I introduced Sam to them.
“This is Sam. He’s a little nervous to be here. Do you mind if he plays with you?” I asked the four girls. My daughter was the first to pipe up, as I expected.
“Sure! Hi, Sam! This is Magnolia,” said my daughter, who was pointing at her rabbit behind the wall.
The bell rang for class to begin, and all of us parents stood by the door, waiting for our kids to give us a final good-bye. My daughter did not come over to me, and I knew she wouldn’t. I was happy she didn’t, as odd as this may seem. Instead, she yelled, “Mom!” which attracted the attention of eight other women, but I knew that was meant for me. My daughter brought her hand to her mouth and blew me a kiss. “Love you” she mouthed at me silently. I caught her air kiss and returned my own to her, mouthing “love you back.” She caught my air kiss and pretended to tuck it into her pocket.
And with that, I walked out the door.
She was in good hands.