It seems like I was just holding him in my arms, rocking him to sleep. However, time stops for no one and my little guy had his first day of kindergarten this past week. We have been preparing him for this day for a long time. My wife is a daycare provider and has been working with him and I worked with him too on his numbers, letters, shapes and we even tackled some math this summer. He does really well and seems to enjoy learning (let’s hope he continues that in an actual classroom).
I have to admit, over the last two years I have been spoiled. I suffered my leg injury in September of 2019 and was laid up for several months, then the pandemic hit; so I have been able to spend a lot of time with my little guy. Other than schoolwork we would watch television together. Our mornings would not be complete without Let’s Make A Deal or The Price Is Right. We would eat lunch together, play wrestling (proud dad, he plays with my old wrestling toys) and go for walks and play at the park. Now that he is in school I know a lot of things will change. However, he will always be my little guy and we can still do all of these things, just later in the day.
When we went to orientation for his school it was a blur. We met with his substitute teacher (his regular teacher was out) and he seemed to really like her. His classroom has lots of fun things for the kids to do and this should be a great learning year for him.
The next day was his first day. Before bed the night before he was asking a lot of questions about school. I told him “always listen to your teacher and you will be fine.” He said, “Okay, and what time do we go outside to play?” We had a good laugh and then he told me goodnight. When he woke up he seemed nervous, like it was setting in that he really was going to school. My wife and I took several pictures of him before dropping him off. When we finally dropped him off we walked to his classroom and found his chair. The teacher had the students’ names on the table along with a pencil box and a necklace and name badge for them. He sat down at his desk and began writing his name on a blank piece of paper. It made me so proud. He was a big boy and gave us a hug and a kiss goodbye. My wife and I were trying to hold it together but I will admit I got choked up when he looked up at me and began to wave goodbye.
Three-and-a-half hours later, my wife and I made our way back to pick him up. He came out of his classroom wearing an orange crown on his head that he made as an art project. In his hand was a certificate that read: “Austin rocked on his first day of kindergarten”. He was so excited to show us. The car ride home he was telling us about his day. I was very proud of him and I think he will do just fine the rest of the school year.
Dennis D. Cruz is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. He may be reached at email@example.com or by calling 847-3021.