Here I lounge, 45 minutes from our house in Garland, just down the road from the preschool where JPS is at this moment attending his first day as a student in a classroom. He has been absolutely stoked about the coming of this day. Since this time last year, when he had to endure sending his sister off to 2nd grade while he remained buckled in his seat, and when he walked the halls of her elementary school holding my hand and watching kids who were just a little bigger than he is walking in lines, carrying backpacks and lunchboxes, he’s been ready for his first day of school.
When we officially enrolled him at this school, which specializes in preparing hearing-impaired kids for the specific challenges they’ll face when they start kindergarten in a mainstream classroom, his mom took him on his first school-supply shopping trip, where he picked out the race car backpack above. He has packed and unpacked it, worn it in and out of the house, and requested numerous photo ops since he came into possession of it two weeks ago. This morning, the backpack hangs on a hook in a cubby with his name taped to it.
He has done his best to prepare himself for this day. His favorite game over the last year has been School, which is played on his bedroom floor, with his stuffed animals as classmates. Most days, in addition to pretending that his parent is a teacher and he’s the student, he also pretends to be a Jedi, a Marvel Comics hero, or a friend from Sesame Street, while the parent/teacher follows suit. We’re hoping he’s not too dismayed today when his teacher addresses him by his name.
JPW and I are having a strange moment of togetherness. Our kids are productively occupied elsewhere. This doesn’t happen to us. So, we just ate a morning snack at a diner, and now we’re nestled in a corner of the library around the corner from JPS’s school. Foggy impressions are stirring in my memory of a life I once lived that may have produced in me the calm ease that I am now feeling. Naturally, the need to be productive has brought me to this keyboard; but, the fact that I have not been needed by a small person in the last two hours is such a foreign sensation that I guess I’m at a loss. Soon, I hope to enjoy this serene state of mind without a feeling guilt or unease that I’m neglecting someone. Of course, I’m not; at their ages, the kids are better off in a classroom with peers than they are, sadly, with us all day long. Sadly? What am I saying? Don’t I crave the freedom to move and think without constant interruptions assailing me like the attention-destroying sirens and riveting guns that bombard George Bergeron’s ears in the Vonnegut short story?
Or have I become even more of a love-junkie than I was before parenthood?