Here we are. The first day of school in a new town. This is a new experience for me because up to this point, Nathan has attended school in my hometown. Did I mention it was a small town? So no matter who his teacher was, I knew them either directly or in a roundabout way. My mom taught school in the district for almost 30 years, so she knew many of the teachers and my mother in law works for the district as well, so there were never any surprises.
It was comfortable. It was well within my comfort zone. It was as natural as breathing to send him to the school where I once played on the monkey bars and chased friends under the trees. The classrooms still smelled exactly the same and the halls were like old friends welcoming me back. (Except that I felt like Andre the giant...were the desks really that small?)
Moving to Tulsa and anticipating a new school that was a total unknown was scary for me. I knew that Nathan would be missing his old friends, and that Gracie would be surrounded by strangers. I was afraid that they would not want to go into their classrooms and had visions of bullies picking on them and making them miserable.
The first inkling I had that everything was going to be all right was when Nathan's friend Savannah from next door came over to walk the kids down to the bus stop. She didn't have to do that. She could have just walked down alone, but she took the time to include Nathan and Grace. We thanked her for coming over, but told her that we were driving the kids to school today.
When we made it to school and down to Gracie's Kindergarten class, I barely had a chance to snap a picture of her with the teacher before she ran in the room without a second glance in our direction. She was completely at ease and ready to start her day. It was bittersweet because for a fleeting moment I wished for a tear or at least a clinging hug, but then I came to my senses and was ecstatic that she was so well-adjusted.
It was time to walk with Nathan to his third grade class and strangely enough, that's when I got a little teary. He walked well ahead of us with a purpose. He knew where his classroom was, and he was excited to get there. He didn't need (or want) to hold a hand, and he looked so big. The lump in my throat went away when I snapped a picture of him with his teacher and he waved goodbye.
As Trevor and I walked out of the building together, I realized that we had just begun another season in our lives. Both children are in school now, and they are growing up more quickly that I like to think about. Time marches on and there is nothing we can do to stop it, so it's better to just embrace the moments as they come and thank God for the blessings that we have been given.