When the blistering hot summer days have you and your family longing for those cooler fall days, there will be some mothers, fathers and grandparents who will take their little one to kindergarten.
On my son’s first day of kindergarten was and still is one of his worst days in his life. Bubba was very upset. He and I were used to being a solo team. His father left when he was two and half and returned when he was four and half. After for about six-months, but only to leave again. Bubba’s father was in love with another country and did not want to be a father. He and I tried to make it work. Financially Bubba’s father was taking care of us, but the lack of his presence was definitely causing Bubba to have attachment issues.
I did not know how much the abonnement affected him until the first day of kindergarten. Bubba had attended a two-year-old preschool program that was three hours twice a week. Then a three-year-old preschool program that met for three hours three times a week. This fall, Bubba was attending a new school with a full day kindergarten program.
On the first day of school, we woke up on time. He dressed into the school uniform, ate breakfast, grabbed his backpack, took a picture and then got in the SUV. During the drive we talked about the all fun he would have. Once we got to the school, Bubba was overwhelmed at all the cars, busses and children in the parking lot. Bubba took off his seatbelt to his car seat, climbed over the seat, began to undress, crying and screaming he did not want to go. I tried to console him. I got in the backseat and tried to reach for him. Instead, I ended up climbing over the seat and helped him put his clothes back on. Together we hugged and talked about all the fun he was going to have at his new school. He calmed down and together we walked to his class hand in hand. Until the moment he saw his teacher and the class full of 20 plus students. Bubba broke down. He clung to both of my legs with all his strength and yelled, “Don’t leave me!”
His teacher with her big fluffy white hair and long dress bent down to his level and said, “Don’t worry, I am your mommy now. You will see her after school, but for now you can act like I am your mommy.”
Bubba proceeded to scream at the top of his lungs and attempted to climb up my legs. That was when the tears I was holding back began to stream down my own face. I picked him up and took him away from the scene. I could not allow his new classmates to stare at him. I carried him to the office and I made small chat with the secretary and Headmaster. Once Bubba had calmed down again I told him that what his teacher said was not true. I was his mommy and always would be. I would not leave him, nor would I forget about him while he was at school. If he were to ever get sick or have great sadness he could tell the teacher he needed to come to the office to ask the secretary to call me. I would stop whatever I was doing to come to school to get him. The secretary smiled in agreement.
He gathered up his courage and once again we walked hand and hand back to his classroom. He took the last seat in the back corner far away from the teacher.
School mornings were never easy for Bubba, but over time they got easier. My son never abused the privilege of calling home sick, but he knew that he could. I always made it to school early to pick him up so he never had to worry if I would be like his father and just leave. The relationship between my son and his teacher was quite toxic. She reminded him many times that she was the mommy now, and my son reminded her that she was not. After many meetings with the teacher and Headmaster, the teacher stopped telling the kids that she was their mommy.
My son learned how to read, add, count, and to do many more things, but to no avail his teacher failed him on the basis of emotional immaturity. I spoke with the Headmaster and came to the conclusion that my son was very smart, could read, write, add, subtract and more but the emotional turmoil of not seeing much of his father had created some attachment issues.
Summer came and we had our glory days of fun filled mornings, swim lessons, nature walks and long afternoons of movies and staying up late playing with friends. In the fall, Bubba went to a new school to repeat kindergarten. The new school was much smaller with only 10 kids per class. The teacher was a male.
On the first day of school, we walked hand and hand to the new classroom. We said our farewells. My son did not cry. He was timid, but the distraction of the collection of birds, bunnies, reptiles, plants and more in the classroom made it much easier for the kids to detach from the parents. My son looked up at me worried and said, “Will you forget about me?”
As I held back tears, I responded, “Of course not, I will be here if you need me. Your teacher can call me anytime and I will stop what I am doing to come to you.”
Then he asked, “Can you please come eat lunch with me?”
The teacher overhearing the conversation shook his head with agreement. “I think that would be nice.”
“Then yes Bubba, I will be here at lunch.” I was shocked that I was welcomed to be a part of Bubba’s first day at school.
The first week of school I ate lunch with Bubba, his class alongside other parents. Lunch was nothing big or glamourous, but it meant everything to my son and the other classmates as they sat alongside their parents, grandparents and more to eat. As days passed fewer parents to include myself would come eat with the class, but never did a week go by that at least one parent would come eat along with the teacher and kindergarteners.
If I could go back in time, I would have never forced Bubba to go to school at the first school he went to for kindergarten. The school had a wonderful academic reputation, but all the heartaches, tears and sadness he suffered from that tragic first day still linger in his head.
The second school fostered a smaller class with more of an ease of transition and the birds, bunnies, plants, trienniums, and more created an environment of ease to create a sense of wonder in Bubba. It was the acceptance of the parental interaction at everyday lunches, field trips and reading time that gave the children a sense of confidence that their moms, dads, grandparents and more would be there at the end of a full day that made the second school the best.
Thank you Headmaster Brother Garrison!