Friday, June 15, 2007

B's First Year of School

It's been almost a month since B completed his first year of school, and I still find it hard to believe that I am the mother of a school age child. I remember well the early morning he was born and how beautiful he was to me. And although some things are already fuzzy to me, some things stand out and I hope they always do. His first words, his first steps, the pride and the fear of watching your little man make his way into a big, big world are impressed upon my mind like footsteps in wet sand. These are the things I ache to hold onto. My mind is one big photo album with pieces of days and chucks of time forever emblazoned on it.

His first year of school is one of those chunks of time. Surely, I don't remember the exact date that I helped his class with projects or which days he had less than stellar behavior, but they are there. The turkey made from a brown paper lunch sack, the foam picture frames, the cursed bunny made from a milk jug are there as is the shock and disappointment of his first "squiggly" face when he had a not so good day and the pride when his teacher sent home a letter two weeks into school saying that he was on a reading level beyond what he should have been.

It's the things that aren't there that make me feel sad. He is a good student and makes good grades, so much so that it's the less than perfect that made an impression. I don't really remember the days that he brought home a smiley face in behavior and Es (Excellents) on all of his work. It's the odd G (Good) that stands out. I will always remember Graduation and how much I wanted to give him a standing ovation when he got Student of the Month, but the days that got him there are a blur.

If you haven't had the joy of having a child in school or daycare, and I hadn't until this year, then you haven't fully experienced the agony of the childhood illness. If I even heard a scrap of conversation ending with the phrase "it's going around" my child came home with it. First came the tonsilitis, ear infection, and pink eye followed soon after by lice. A short, yet blessed illness intermission came around Christmas, but soon we were back in the loop with strep throat and several bouts of a mystery stomach virus. Lysol is powerless against these fiendish germs, just so you know. I am Lysol-obsessive. I shudder to think of how much worse it could have been.

There were character-building days that we will remember for a lifetime. I can only recall with laughter at the day he decided to cut his own hair at school. I have been sad and angry on the days that someone was mean or rude to him. I have cried because his heart was broken and had a conference with his teacher when I felt that he had been slighted. I am that proverbial mother bear. I'm sure he has learned some lessons too that I have not been privy to. B has been brought up to believe that everyone should play well together. Sadly, they don't and that was something that he learned this year. Right now it's that the opposite sex has cooties, but in his coming years it will be racism, sexism, ageism, etc. Tolerance and acceptance of people who are different from you is the lesson of the day now, but it's one I wish he didn't have to learn.

All in all, it was a good year and a good experience for both of us. We learned how to be more independent of each other. He moved comfortably into the role of student, perhaps more comfortably than I would have liked at the time. I moved into a different role too, more of a support role, that of cheerleader, confidante and counselor.

B is a good student, a good friend, a kind and compassionate person with a big heart. He has learned that change can be good, but has little tolerance for those who annoy him. He is a thinker, a reader and has mad math skills. He likes to be the center of attention, but doesn't mind the days that he's not. He can carry on an adult conversation with you about the planets and dinosaurs. His hand writing is not so good and he's okay with that. Your sadness makes him sad and injustice makes him mad. He's easily bored if the works too easy and prefers computer work to any other. He's just as comfortable in a large group as he is playing alone.

Most of the things he'll remember for the rest of his life are a product of this year. And those are the things I want to remember too.