Today was the first real school day for Sawyer. She rode the bus to and from school, and since her school has converted to full day kindergarten, she put in a full "workday" including taking her lunch to school.
I have mixed feelings about this. I don't know whether I should be celebrating or not.
First, I am so proud of her. She got on that bus this morning like a trouper. I could see the nervousness in her. But she put her game face on. I want to think she gets this toughness from me. It's never something we have talked about- I don't ever tell her to "suck it up", or anything like that. But I like to think my little shadow sees when momma pulls up her britches and keeps on keepin' on. And she has decided it is something she wants to do to. So, she got on that bus, unsure and a little scared. She tried to sit with her friends, but you can't get 3 to a seat. Our neighbour boy helped her get into a seat of her own across from them. She sat there by herself, and waved out the window to us. And then the bus moved. And I saw her face change. I saw it, and it broke my heart. I knew she wouldn't cry, she's too tough for that. She wouldn't let strangers see her break like that. I know that is a weird thing to say about a 4 year old that regularly throws tantrums and fake cries to get her way. But it's true- when it's real, when it's fear- she doesn't break. And that's what I mean, when I say, I think she gets it from me.
She made it through the day, and came home on the bus, dirty faced, sweaty haired and happy as a clam. She was starving and scarfed her way through grapes and pretzels, all the while telling my mom and I about the kids in her class, the ones whose names she can't "amember". So, she had a great day. And I am so very proud. So proud I could burst.
And I gotta say- it was a *little* nice today. The peace and quiet, that is.
But I missed her.
But then there is the other side. There are about 30 kids in her kindergarten class. 30. 30!!! That's ridiculous. How do you teach 30 kids? How to you wrangle 30 kids and get them all learning and engaged and making sure that everyone's needs are met. How do you do that with a 15 to 1 ratio of teacher to student?
The answer is, you don't. I know that. I know that parents have been complaining for years about the growing class sizes and teachers don't like that they have to work with such large groups. There is nothing about this situation that is conducive to learning. I told Sawyer today to prepare for Sylvan Learning. We will get her working and learning if it kills us. We can't rely on the school board, 'cause really, they don't care.
And I hate that this is even a factor in my life at all right now. My daughter is 4. Only 4 years old. Why am I putting her through this? Because the government is telling me to? I don't know if I am making the right choice.
I watched her last night. My mother-in-law was coming over to help me (i.e. do for me) recover the cushions on my wicker furniture on the front porch. I made dinner for the kids and then Sawyer played outside for a bit before she came over. I sat on the porch and knitted, watching her play with the same neighbour boy I mentioned earlier. And while I watched, I was thinking about her freedom. How this was the last night of her life where she really wouldn't know about timetables and schedules. Where she wouldn't be ruled by the clock, have responsibilities and expectations. Was it the last, real, for true night of her childhood? In my heart of hearts, I was really worried that it was.
I though it again as I put her little self on that bus this morning. And again when I picked her up. I have a feeling I will keep thinking it for a while.
Maybe I am just trying to keep her little. I don't want her to grow up. There is a 99.95% chance that she is my last baby (I don't want to say 100%, so don't make me). She is so much fun. She drives me bonkers. I don't want a single thing to change. And yet it is. And so very quickly too. Maybe I am just torturing myself, trying to find ways to delay this inevitable growing up. I don't know.
Anyway, I was happy about Sawyer's good day. I am happy she was happy. No tears, no sadness- at least not from her (Momma was a different story, but she doesn't know that.) And we will do this all again on Monday. And Tuesday. And the next week, the next month, the next year.
Forever and ever. Amen.
Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "not enough time. Not ever enough."