We dropped Wyatt off at his first-grade classroom this morning. It was heartbreaking. It's a new school building--even though it's the same teachers, staff, and students, it feels completely different than his old school. He was quiet the whole way to school, walking in, hanging up his backpack, finding his seat. I sat down next to him and asked if he wanted me to stay for a few minutes. He blinked hard, lower lip trembling, and said, "Okay." Every ounce of energy in his little body was devoted to not crying. I don't care how much you paid me--I wouldn't be six again.
I keep thinking of him, in the giant lunchroom eating grapes from his Scooby Doo lunchbox, putting new erasers in his pencilbox, standing around at recess looking for kids he knows. Like I said, heartbreaking.
He's been pretty worried the last couple weeks. In an effort to coach him (how he must hate being my son sometimes!), I said, "Let's think about the worst thing that could happen on your first day, and we'll figure out how you could deal with it." I'm assuming he'll say something like, "Get lost," and I could counter with, "Ask an adult for help!" But he said, "Well, I could break my leg." Then we had a good laugh. He'll be fine, but today kind of sucks for both of us, I think.
We have a tradition of going out to eat the night we shop for school supplies. Wyatt's request was Red Mill Burgers. I can't promise I didn't drop any conspicuous hints, though. He knows the way to his mother's heart.
Red Mill, how I love thee--the roasted Anaheim chile burger, fat with jack cheese. The blue cheese and bacon burger, bacon so crunchy you have to wear headphones. And fries with bits of potato skin hanging on, cornmeal-coated onion rings that ruin every dieter. We've lived in Seattle 14 years and been Red Mill devotees since the day we moved here. We are training our children up in the Way of the Mill, and hopefully our children's children.
After burgers and school supplies, we went to Old School Frozen Custard. Thick, heart-attacking custard, rich with egg yolks, not even the tiniest lump or bit of iciness. Wyatt sat down with his cone and his eyes literally rolled back in his head. Frozen custard has to be one of the most hospitable things ever--absolutely no barriers to downing it quickly. When I am old and feeble, I will be asking for it through my feeding tube. And if you really love me, you'll cut my Anaheim burger into small bits while we talk about how Wyatt survived his first day of first-grade (and was the better for it, really).