Today when I dropped Joey off at school, I literally "dropped him off". It was so scary. Last year for 3k Joey went to a school that is inside of an art museum and you had to park your car, walk across a small parking lot, through the museum and take your child into the classroom. It is fine if you have just one child but I also had a 2 year old and a newborn in tow.
This year Joey is going to the same elementary school I went to and they have devised a very easy system for parents to drop off their children. Drop off your child in the front of school where a teacher is waiting, and pick your child up in the back of school where his teacher will escort him outside. Perfect! Except I have been too chicken to actually take advantage of it until today. Normally, I park the car and drag all of the kids inside to take Joey into the classroom. I guess I've seen too many news stories about kids gone missing on their way to school. Oh I know I am a few feet from the door of the school when I drop him off, and I can actually watch him walk into school, but it still makes me nervous.
It is especially funny that I am so chicken, because Joey has always been so brave. When I walk him into school he finds the hook with his name on it, hangs up his jacket and backpack, says "good-bye", and heads right into the classroom without so much as a glance back at me. He was always this way. Even on his first day of 3k. He was absolutely fine with me leaving him there, even though half the class was crying for their mommies. When I came to pick him up he was actually mad. He was the only kid running away from his mommy, telling me he wanted to stay. I tried not to take it personally, but I have to admit, the kids crying and clinging to their moms made me a little envious. Silly, I know. But it is nice to be missed. When we got home that day I let him know that I had missed him and that he hurt my feelings, and it has never happened again.
So today as I pulled up to the curb in front of school, I explained to Joey that he was going to go into school by himself. He undid his seatbelt, gave me a kiss, grabbed his backpack and jumped out of the car. He was so excited to be joining the big kids, and he turned around to see if I was watching what a good job he was doing. Of course, I was. He had such a proud smile on his face as he waved at me with his 4 year old's enthusiasm. My heart just swelled. I just stared, amazed at how big and yet how small he looked. I felt a tug at my heart. It all begins here. The slight growing up, pulling away. I watched as he said "hello" to his teacher, and disappeared around the corner to his classroom. I could have sat at that curb all day. Just waiting.
I think it was Carol Burnett who once said, "from the day your child is born it is like wearing your heart on the outside of your body", and now I know what she means. Today, my heart when to 4k.