RISING SUN - Well folks, we have crossed yet another milestone in our family. Thatcher strapped the Velcro on his little red shoes tight, swung his backpack on and donned his mask and marched into 4K.
I struggled a lot with the decision to send him or not to send him. I spent a lot of time going back-and-forth on the topic.
When I felt like in-person was something we wanted to try, I also had feelings of guilt, and selfishness. I laid awake wondering, am I a terrible mother sending my child to school right now? Some would probably think so, others may think I’m crazy for even questioning it.
I felt at a loss, wishing many days I wasn’t the parent and the one who had to make the hard decisions. Admittedly, I sighed deeply more than once overcome with emotion, missing the strong opinions of people like my mom and Chasca’s mom. Being a mom, but needing a mom, has probably been hardest for me during this big scary pandemic.
However, I put on a brave face for Thatcher and reminded myself that I am the Mom now. He needs me to guide him confidently and we carried on, at least for the first two days of the first week.
We didn’t discuss it much at all leading up to the big day for Thatcher, just in case things changed last minute. We casually picked out a backpack together and ordered it online. A task he thoroughly enjoyed and proclaimed his red and blue dinosaur pack to be the most beautiful thing he has ever seen. He happily took a trip into Mister Gs to pick out special classroom shoes and helped me pack up all of his belongings the night before.
We even made an extra special trip to pick out a new mask from Alyce’s Acres vast variety of homemade cloth masks. Because of course, what 4K student in 2020 would be complete without a complete arsenal of cloth face coverings.
Thatcher, in true Gays Mills native fashion, chose a green and red apple print mask to wear his first day. This one added to a rotation that includes a Spider-Man mask, one with cool flames, a dinosaur one, a moth pattern and an owl pattern. He has also requested a gecko fabric, for which we continue to hunt.
The school had been communicating with us via email leading up to the big moment, but what made Chasca and I a bit nervous was the whole drop-off procedure. Apparently when you’re not a bus kid, if can be kind of complicated. Enough so that the school went through the trouble of creating a whole YouTube video explaining how to drop your kid off.
The whole point was moot for us however since Thatcher is still in a car seat. He is unable to flop out of the door in the morning drop off line.
So, we studied the video and map provided, but ultimately decided that a good old fashioned dry run was in order. So we loaded the family up in the car and headed to our new school. We were glad we did because the video made no sense compared to what we were seeing in real life and we ended up driving around a bit until we figured it out.
Luckily things went well and smoothly the next day. We were able to find a parking spot and all unloaded to drop our sweet brother boy off as a family. Even little Boppy Wayls, wearing his own mask for the occasion.
We were not allowed to come in with T, which was a touch sad. It felt like I was missing out on a mom’s right of passage of walking my first baby to his first classroom, but flexibility is the mantra of 2020. We met his teacher's assistant at the door and gave our boy hugs and masked kisses and wished him well.
Thatcher was confident, and so grown up, as he walked through the doors alone. He was starting a whole new and major chapter of his life, after four short years as our baby, toddler and now little boy.
Walking back to the car, both Chasca and I felt overcome with emotion. I didn’t quite expect to cry really, but there I was with tears streaming down my face–left wondering how the four years have passed by me so quickly.Thatcher came home, happy and seemingly unscathed from his day. He made friends, had school food and played with new toys. He was treated to a vanilla custard and the world seemed right. I hope it remains safe, and that one day this can be all a memory. And I can move on to fretting about the next thing on the Big List of Worries for Mothers.