Thursday, July 29, 2010

These are the things I'd really put in his backpack

My son starts kindergarten in less than two weeks.

I won't even get into how fast the time has gone, how I can't believe he'll be in school, real school, not just preschool or daycare.

Instead, I'm trying to focus on looking ahead and being excited about all the amazing things he's yet to experience.

This weekend, I plan to take him to buy school supplies. The school provided a list. He is to bring:

- 4 boxes of crayons
- 1 pack of Crayola markers
- 2 boxes of tissues
- 6 white glue sticks
- 1 plastic school box, no handle
- 12 #2 pencils, sharpened
- 1 bottle of Elmer's glue
- 1 pair of headphones
- 1 large backpack

We'll get those items, of course, and I'll help him fill his new backpack with them. Then on the morning he leaves me for the first real time, I'll help him get that heavy backpack on his shoulders.

I'll walk with him into school. I'll make sure he finds his room, meets his teacher.

And then I'll leave.

I don't even like the way writing that sentence feels.

While his backpack will be full of crayons and glue sticks and markers and tissues - the things we were supposed to send with our kids to school - these are the things I really want to send with my first-born, my baby:

-- Confidence. The gift of believing in yourself is bigger than anything I could ever wrap and put under the tree.

-- A sense of humor. Things don't always go the way we want. This is hard to accept, especially for us first-borns. But it's good to be able to laugh them off.

-- Courage. My biggest fear is that my little boy will need help and will be too scared or too shy to ask.

-- At least one friend. Please, God, let him make him a friend. None of us deserves to be alone.

-- Love. If I could, I'd stuff all the love I have for him in a little Ziploc bag, seal it tight and put it in his pocket to carry forever.

-- His blankie. It's the best substitute for Mommy. And it actually would fit in his backpack, if he'd let me pack it.

-- Curiosity. I want him to know everything there is to know about this world. Not just reading and math but about faraway places and great leaders and big ideas. I want him to ask questions. I want him to get excited about learning. I want him to be smarter than me.

-- Me. If I could, I'd smoosh Mommy up into a tiny action figure version and I'd slip myself into his other pocket. I'd be there just to listen or give him a little hug when he needs it.

But I know as well as you: He won't need it. He'll be just fine.

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Jeannine said...

This is beautiful! You are a great mother.

Ashley said...

that's so sweet! i cant believe he's in kindergarten already!!

Veronica said...

Jeannine, thank you! This ran in the paper today and I've been getting some very nice comments about it there, too. It feels good. And I mean every single word of this piece.

Ashley, I know. I can't either. It does not seem long ago at all that he was just a baby. But already his baby sister is almost 15 months old. It's scary how fast you all grow up.

Rita Arens said...

Hi Veronica -- I don't see your e-mail address anywhere. I'd like to talk to you about syndicating this post on BlogHer. Can you e-mail me at Thanks!