Today was the third day of school for my kids and my heart sank and then melted today.
The first day of school was a half day for everyone. Drop off and pick up was in the front. All the kids met their teachers outside of the school to go in as a group. It was a little chaotic but I got to see my kids join their teachers before saying goodbye to them. I'm sure they were nervous but they put on a good face and did well separating from me and from each other.
Friday I dropped the kids off in the front and there were a lot of teachers around helping the kids find their classrooms. There was a little bit of clinging but we made it through. Again, I knew that my kids were taken care of and the walk from the front door to the classroom was a short one. I picked the kids up after a half day (some of the kids stayed for a whole day on Friday) and it was calm and peaceful because it was only about half of the class.
Today was different. I was running a little behind so I dropped the kids off in back because that was the closest door to where I had parked. I had been told there would be plenty of staff around to make sure kids got to where they were supposed to go but, when I got to the entrance by the cafeteria, there was only one lady with a clipboard (not sure what that was for) surrounded by a bunch of kids sitting at tables. Mobs of older kids were whizzing by her trying to get to their classrooms on time. I wanted to walk my kids into the classroom but parents aren't allowed into the school. (Yes, I get why but I'm sure some childless and heartless bureaucrat came up with that rule!) I told the kids to ask the lady where to go and she just said, "Oh, you're in kindergarten? You can go straight to class."
"WHAT?!?!?!" I screamed inside my head. "How can you let them walk through the cafeteria and down the hall all by themselves? They've never gone into the school this way before? They'll be stepped on by older kids? Or get lost in the bowels of the school? Or eaten by bears because Besty DeVos' plan to let every school have a gun hasn't taken effect yet."
As I stood, helpless, at the threshold I watched my two kids walk through the cafeteria towards the hallway where their classrooms are. I couldn't leave until I knew they made the turn down the correct hallway. After a few steps I saw their hands touch. They held hands as they walked. They were there for each other. My heart broke and melted at the same time. They might have been scared to go but they had each other and they were there to support each other. Raising twins has certainly been tough for so many reasons but there are moments when it's emotionally overwhelming in a good way (like the first day of dance class).
After a few more steps one of the kids sitting at a table yelled out "Hi, Aaron!" and I felt calmer. Someone shouting his name means he is making connections with the other kids and I know things will turn out OK. In a few more weeks I'm sure my kids will start to run out of the car to get to school and not look back. My big goodbye hugs in the morning will turn into just seeing their backs as they rush through the door. When it happens I'll remind myself of the article I read a long time ago. The writer told parents that as kids separate from you it's important to remember that has been a parent's goal all along. When you hold you child in your arms you dream of what your child can accomplish in his or her life. I'll miss the hugs and kisses and knowing I provide the best safety net for them, but I'll be OK. And if I'm still a little sad, like I always say, I'll go eat some chocolate.