Today was the day I had been waiting for all year. The alarm on my phone was set for 6:50 am however I woke up at 6:15 because I was too excited and didn’t want to miss it.
The alarm started ringing and I had the pleasure to go in and wake my son Alec.
Today is your first day of school — I whispered while rubbing his belly as he struggled to open his eyes.
After a few moments Alec opened his eyes and made his way out of bed. We quickly put on his new pants, shirt, and socks. Hurrah for socks! Alec had been going to Habibi’s Hutch, a Lord of the Flies-like preschool.
Most days Alec wouldn’t need to put on socks let alone a uniform. He didn’t “need” a shirt or shorts and if he wanted to go to preschool in just his undies, a Spider-Man costume, or simply pajamas, he could and nobody would mind or say anything. Oftentimes Tina, Clarissa, or I would pick up Alec and his brother Sky only to be greeted by them in just their underwear or diaper, arms painted all sorts of colors, their feet covered in sand, and their wet clothes in a plastic bag. Life was good at Habibi’s. Today Alec started his new adventure: kindergarten.
He ate his last breakfast at the house for a while because his new school provides a healthy breakfast and lunch thanks to a grant provided to the University of Texas Elementary School. We asked what he wanted to eat.
My excitement got the best of me, so while the boys gobbled up their bowls of cereal, I shuffled off to the garage to prep our rides. Bikes!
This is the first time Alec was able to ride a bike to school and we were riding together. At 5 years old he is too young to ride to school by himself - and there was no way I was going to miss this ride.
One of my fondest memories as a kid was getting to ride my bike to school. So often we hear of parents driving their children to school each day. I appreciate the need to do so and feel some heartache for them because they miss out on a magical few minutes. Most of us had the opportunity to ride our bikes to school when we were younger. That seems to have been lost along the way.
The freedom, exhilaration, and stimulation of riding a bike to school could not be matched. We had a great conversation. It took all of six or seven minutes to get there and I really wished it had lasted longer.
We arrived, parked and locked up his bike and helmet, and walked hand-in-hand up to the entrance, jumping over each crack in the sidewalk like two little kids.
His mother and brother drove to the UT Elementary too so they could wish him well on his first day. They pulled into the front and after a hug, a kiss, a wave, and a tear, Alec and I were walking into the building. He said thank you to the police officers who were there helping direct traffic, received a sticker from a kind officer as the man welcomed him to school, and said hi to the school’s chef who was waiting inside to greet the kids.
We held hands as we made our way to his classroom which was out the other side of the cafeteria and down a path. We stopped along the way to take pictures. Those pictures are below this story.
There are two kindergarten classes. Alec is in the ladybugs class. The other one is made up of the bumblebees.
I’m a ladybug, Alec boasted with pride.
Yes you are. You most certainly are, I responded.
Up the ramp to his classroom and as we walked inside he said hi to his teacher and found his chair at the table with his name tag on it. A kiss for me and a hug goodbye. He made it. And with a stomach filled with butterflies fluttering around inside it, I walked back to my bike.
My ride home was quite cathartic. I thought about the last few minutes. How much I looked forward to that ride and how no amount of money in the world would have prevented me from enjoying this opportunity. Tonight I head off to New York and I pushed my trip back one day just so I could have this moment.
Next week we ride again. And then the next, and next, and next.
I am proud.