Monday, November 01, 2010

The Beginning of a School Boy's Adventures

This morning I'm sitting at my sunroom window at the computer watching my second child wait for the bus at the end of our long driveway.

After homeschooling him until the age of ten years, we've come to the conclusion that this year school might be a better option for us.

Last week, his first week, I asked him if he wanted me to wait at the end of the driveway with him.  He did.

Today, the first day of his second week, he said, "No thanks, Mom."


I watch him wait as I click around my keyboard.  On the odd occasion he looks back at the house.  Mostly he doesn't though.  Sometimes he hides behind a tree.  I wonder what he's thinking or pretending.

Nevertheless, he's clearly busy thinking his own thoughts and anticipating his own day.  When the bus arrives he gets on and goes quickly to his seat with no thought to look back at his home.  I know that he is more concerned about whether his friend Mitchel will be on the bus this morning and what they will do at school today.

I could not have wished for a better First Teacher for him.  She's not only the 5/6 teacher, she's also the theatre arts specialist in the school.  My one kid who is tremendously shy one-on-one but loves stage performance landed the teacher of a lifetime.  It carries the same feeling that I had when I was a little girl, reading Cinderella, finding out that the Fairy Godmother shows up to make sure all is well.  Pure relief.  As a matter fact when she was first talking to him about the class, I stood out in the hallway and almost wept with tears of relief and joy.

School has so much potential for him and so many opportunities.  I really want it to be great and I really want him to love and revel in each and every experience. I know if anyone can help it be great, Mrs. Dumais can.

So, it's all as it should be.  I feel like I've done what I've supposed to do.  The time is right for him to go. He's secure enough not to worry about home anymore.

For a long time it wasn't that way.  Sick kids like to be at home. It's their safe place. It was the place he wanted to be most of all.

It's been a long time since he's been 'a sick kid' though. (Knock on wood.)

As a result, his focus is going outward now.  I am scared he will get sick out there again but I don't tell him that.  I remind him to wash his hands lots and have fun.  I'm guessing he doesn't need me to remind him to do the latter.  Really, I keep telling myself, he'll be fine.  If he was going to get sick, I think I would have seen whispers of it in his first week.  But I didn't see anything.  Really.

It all began this year because, at the age of ten, he's finally sleeping in his own bed.  Honestly, I think it only happened because his five year old brother decided to sleep in the new bunkbed set I put together upstairs for them, and he didn't want to be overshot by a little kid.  He's always had his own bed.  He's just never wanted to sleep in it.  It's the 'safe' thing again, I think.  And it was for me too.

When he was sick, if his temperature suddenly skyrocketed in the middle of the night, the heat coming off him would wake me and I could make sure to wipe him down with a damp cloth, at least keeping him in the 'safe' range.  If he was in another room, I was always afraid I wouldn't know, he would skyrocket, begin seizing and die alone.  These are the thoughts that go through the head of a mother with a 'sick kid'.

For the last eight years on his special diet he hasn't had a fever.  But his first three years of life, it was a case of being constantly vigilant, and performing our 'wiping ceremony', sometimes several nights a week.  It makes fear sit in a mother's gut like slab of concrete with spikes sticking out of it.  It does erode with time... but it takes a while.  Apparently it's the same for 'sick kids' so I didn't want to force him to be alone at night if he wasn't emotionally 'ready'.

So all of a sudden he's ready, to conquer the whole world, it seems to me.  I know I have to let him go.

He's bright, clever, witty, good at school and the kind of kid who, despite a couple of minor ticks, other kids think is really cool and want to be around.

My final, almost overwhelming feeling as I watch the bus disappear beyond the treeline is that my chest will explode with pride and excitement.  He is on his way toward a new adventure and loving every minute of it.  After years of feeling like I didn't have a clue, it brings tears to my eyes to see I've done right by him.