Monday, August 12, 2013

The backpack shipped.

A brown pack with dinosaur bones. Lunch box to match. Monogrammed. "Do you really want your name?" I asked. Yes. "Really?" Yesssss, Mom... My first thought was that kidnappers would call after him, tricking him away. My second: When you grow bored of this backpack, or think it too babyish, we can't hand it off. What a waste of material.

But he wanted his name. Why not? The transition to kindergarten has been weighing on him. This was something special that might help cushion the jump. Plus, I'd started to imagine... the mom of another, younger Julian finding a personalized dino pack in decent condition at the Goodwill. Total score!

So today, the personalized pack and lunch sack shipped—an email told me so. Kindergarten starts into two weeks. "Are you ready?" a friend whose little girl is about to turn one, asked me today. Yes - he's going to love it. He's interested and eager to learn. School will suit him, I said. But it is sort of sad. My kid is school-aged. Hard to believe. Cliche, yes. For a reason.

I teared up on and off for a week last year, watching—via Facebook—friends' kids sitting on stoops, waiting for the bus, heading off to kindergarten.  But this year, I'm actually mostly excited to see my big little guy off to his next stage. It's time. Lately, he's seeming more like a tiny man: with real pecs and sound theories, smart questions and a burgeoning set of admirable ethics. Between his brother-bullying and potty jokes are glimmering glimpses of a maturing, kind and cool big kid. It's exciting. It's bittersweet. It's sorta awesome.

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