Ben's First Day of School: The Return
He came back on the right bus. But let's back it up again so I can tell you about the rest of the day... Because I know lots of you were wondering.
After I left my sweet Benjamin at school I came home and called my mom. I felt better after that. But I also decided that I did not feel comfortable leaving Ben at school for lunch as planned without at least checking in on him. (Even though I was pretty sure he would be fine without me, I knew I wouldn't be.) So at lunch time, while Glen watched Sammy and Hannah, I drove to Ben's school.
I stood in the hallway outside his door and waited while Ben's teacher wrapped up the morning and started getting ready for noon hour. I listened to her cheerful directions while she helped the kids get their lunch kits, and while they helped her count out how many napkins they'd need for lunch in their sweet little voices, and while she sang a little prayer with them. And I felt myself steadily relaxing.
After the bell rang I stepped just inside the door and Ben noticed me right away. He skipped up to me. "You sneaked right in and my teacher didn't even notice!" he said to me with his typical gestures and earnest full body nods. She did notice of course, but I laughed with him. "Yes, Mommy is sneaky isn't she?"
I asked him if he still wanted to stay for lunch and he did so I sent him off to wash his hands with the rest of the kids. His teacher came to talk to me, told me he'd been doing fine, and that he'd stopped crying before she got to him. I thought, "And how long did it take you to get to him?" but I kept that thought to myself and I didn't even have to struggle to manage it. I was just happy that he seemed happy as I'd hoped he would, so I said goodbye to him and I told him that he'd be taking the bus home and that his teacher would help him find the right one. I told him I'd be waiting for him when he got off.
Sammy and I spent the afternoon in the park with some friends and then we drove to the school to wait in the van and watch Ben get on the bus. He did, but I noticed his teacher going back and forth from the bus to the classroom so I decided to check and make sure everything was all right. It was all right, but the bus driver was a little confused about where to drop him since he wasn't the one who picked him up. He was the one who called me dear when I told him in despair, "I put my five-year-old on the wrong bus on his first day of Kindergarten!!!" We got everything figured out and Ben was off again with a quick wave and a "Hi Mommy!"
I zoomed home and waited in the driveway for the school bus to drive by our house again. When they arrived I snapped another quick picture, this time on the right bus, with the right bus driver. Then I asked Ben the big question, "How was your day buddy?"
It was good. He liked snack time the best, but he wonders why I forgot to come at snack. I tell him that I won't come at snack or at lunch anymore if that's okay. It is. He tells me he liked the new bus driver best. Better than your teacher? Yes. I laugh, and I have to admit, the bus driver IS pretty friendly and he DOES drive a pretty cool school bus. I'm already feeling better about his teacher though, and I hope she grows on Ben too. I'm sure she will. It's just pretty hard to compete with a guy with a bus in the meantime...
Ben starts crying near the end of our conversation. He says he's very hungry. He isn't crying his hungry cry though, this is his exhausted and overwhelmed cry. There's a pretty big difference. His bottom lip always trembles in this terribly sweet and sad way. So I suggest Boston Pizza to cheer us up. There's nothing like bugs and cheese to celebrate a day of big steps and little victories.
We made it.
(And yes, even as I write this, I see that I am, by any definition, one of "those" parents.)