It’s official: Oscar has joined the ranks of those pursuing their formal educations. Today, on Friday, 5 September 2008, he began preschool as, he reminded us tonight, a student in Pre-K, and he couldn’t be happier. Last night as I organized his white shirt, which he was able to keep remarkably clean until an encounter with a late-afternoon fudgsicle at a friend’s house–and his khaki shorts, as I packed his backpack and made sure his shoes were clean, I felt the significance of the moment. I thought of him constantly while at work today, letting my own students know of Oscar’s milestone; and some of them shared their story of their first day of preschool. They remembered, and the experience had made a lasting impression.
As I negotiated Newport’s congested afternoon traffic on my way to afternoon dismissal, my stomach fluttered in anticipation of what I would see and hear. His face said it all. In a sea of busy preschoolers in white shirts, his eyes locked with mine. A sheepish grin took over his face, and we shared a hug that was as big as this moment. I said, as parents have since time and school began, “How was your day?” And his reply, “It was fabulous!” told me that he has been and is decidedly ready for this next phase.
Over the course of the afternoon and evening we learned that he “spoke French with Miss Christine,” “painted apples in the kitchen,” and “learned to shelve books properly with the spines out.” More revelations will come, and we were reminded that though we were his first teachers we are no longer his only. Tonight, after a celebration at Applebee’s, when exhaustion finally kicked in, I asked Oscar, all 39.4 pounds of him, if he wanted me to carry him upstairs; and he said “yes.” After a day of feeling like a very big boy, it was just the right ending to a very big day–for him and most assuredly for me.