He went to his first day of Kindergarten. And the world kept turning. And at the end of the day, we picked him up to find him in one piece, having eaten all of his lunch and with a big, big smile.
I meant to snap a picture of that smile. I specifically took my good camera to capture the moment. But the crowds of parents waiting outside the school were thick. Children were milling about. It was a crowd — something in which I do not function well. The panic that I had fought earlier in the day slammed back into me and I had to forcibly remind myself to breathe.
I spotted the Kindergarten teachers standing together and started making my way in their direction. They were to be standing outside with those who were being picked up at the end of the day. As I made my way through that crowd, I didn’t initially see BigBrother. I saw a kid from his class, a child that I knew was in another class and then suddenly bodies blurred together, meshing into one blurry mass of noise and color. I felt like I was swimming upstream, slowly, as I took the final steps around one of the other teachers.
And there he was. Looking for me too. I caught the brief look of not-quite-fear but not-quite-content on his face before his eyes met mine. And he broke into the biggest smile I have been greeted with since he was a crib-bound toddler smiling at me as I opened his nursery door in the morning. The crowd simply melted away as I enveloped him in a hard, big hug, all the way around his huge, full backpack.
We walked back to the car, hand in hand, as he chattered on about his day. The anxiety I had earlier in the day didn’t disappear completely — we have 179 more days of school experiences to get through this year. But that smile and that hug let me know that he’s still ours. And that constant chatter the whole way home let me know that he’s still carrying a part of me with him even when he’s out of my sight and control.