My oldest child starts kindergarten this week. As you might imagine, I’m pretty conflicted. I’m excited for him and I know that he’s ready. And to be honest, the summer has been long and hot and demoralizing at times and I know a little bit of space and time apart will be good for all of us. Three kids under age six stewing together under one roof for months on end is a volatile recipe. But still, I’m apprehensive.
I’m nervous for two reasons. First, I worry because elementary school was not my favorite thing. While I was great at the school part, the social part was never my cup of tea. I’m certain I had social anxiety then, too. That didn’t just pop up when I became an adult. Luckily, our oldest seems much better equipped for the social side of things than I was. He’s become more outgoing recently and he’s way more comfortable with bathroom humor than I was (and am). From my experience, comfort with bodily function jokes is a key aspect of surviving elementary school.
So, I feel relatively good about how my son will handle the transition; however, I’m a little concerned about me. For example, I’ve been thinking a lot about the car drop-off and pick-up lines at the school. Like, how do those even work? I can think of about a hundred ways I could mess up and humiliate myself in front of everyone. I’ve been turning scenarios over in my head for days. What am I going to do when my son gets in and can’t buckle his seat belt? Hold up the entire line? How mortifying. Keep in mind that if I get honked at for waiting a second too long when a traffic light turns green, it pretty much ruins my entire day.
I remain hopeful though that I will rise to the occasion somehow. A thing that happened when I was in elementary school gives me a glimmer of hope. At the spring concert when I was in fifth grade, six or so students were selected to perform original rap verses during one of the musical numbers. For some weird reason, I was one of the students selected. The complete lyrics to the verse I wrote and performed were as follows.
My name’s Andrew, I lost one shoe, so I had to hop the whole day through. I stubbed my toe on a big black crow, and then by golly it started to snow. Then around four my foot got sore, so I hopped on down to the Pick-and-Pay store. I only needed one, but they were joined by a string, so I said to the man, “Hey, cut this thing!”
Let me tell you, that rhyme freaking killed. It was the highlight of my elementary school life. Check that, highlight of my whole life. So, you see, as daunting as things like the car line for school pick-up might seem, there is always a chance you can overcome the odds and thrive.
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