It's like he's our oldest, the first to go to first grade, even though he shouldn't be.  I try not to think about every single thing this way, try not to let whatever he does fall against the backdrop of what his sister did not get to do.
He heads out the back door, skin tanned to the color of a baseball mitt.  I imagine his mind full, crowded with summer experiences and Lego blueprints and questions about the universe.  I imagine his mind ready for more.  He wants to learn about division and geography, to make new friends, to play tag at recess, to be a scientist when he grows up.  I envy his ability to be an undiluted version of himself, and I hope, hard, that he has a good year.

I watch him cut across the alley holding Andy's hand, carrying the same orange camouflage backpack with the same snake lunchbox* inside.  He looks so big and so little, all at the very same time.  I do not want to slow down the fast march of childhood; I feel lucky to have a good public school and a healthy son to send.

I tell myself that today I will carry the thought that he’ll be just fine.  That he’ll make new friends and hold new hands.  I will carry all those good things in my heart right benext to where I carry memories of my own elementary school days, of him as an infant, of his sister.  Carry the thought there, and feel glad for the gift of a boy who can grow up and go.

*in his lunch box this morning:

Dear Tucker,
You are a first grader!
You are a reader.
You are a scientist.
You are a good friend.
You are a great brother.
You are important.
You are loved.
You are going to have an awesome year!


The Wendels said...

Great lunchbox note - I think I will steal :) Was Andy heading to class too?

Andy and Jenni said...

By all means, Mary! And yes, it was Andy's first day of class too!!