We officially have a kindergartener! It’s truly hard to believe how fast time has flown by. Caroline’s first week of school was quite the whirlwind for us all. Actually, the entire kindergarten process has been kind of crazy. Matt and I had a really tough time deciding on a school for Caroline (& Thomas). We toured many schools last fall and ended up applying to a few, even though Matt and I only agreed on and equally loved one of the schools. And as it turned out, we didn’t get in to our first choice school so we joined the wait list with our fingers crossed and said many prayers over the following months. Well, we didn’t get in from the wait list either. So, we ended up committed to our neighborhood school (which is a great school) and we went all in — Matt even applied for a leadership position! Over the coming months we would attend the school events, join all the Facebook groups, tour the school several more times, connect with parents of the school, attend Open House, meet the teachers and Caroline began counting down the days until her new adventure.
And then, out of the blue a few weeks ago…I received a call from our dream school offering Caroline a placement. I was so completely shocked that it took me a second to even find the words to accept the spot. Afterwards, I couldn’t deliver the news to Matt fast enough. Like me, he was confused at first…then shocked…then elated. We worried over how we would tell Caroline about this big change and sat her down in the circle room one night after Thomas went to be to deliver the news. We had practiced ahead of time what we would say and when we made our announcement Caroline took us by surprise and said “Oh, OK! Do I still get to pick out a lunchbox?” to which we told her of course she would. She then responded with “Ok! Awesome! I’m excited!” and looked at us with an “is that all?” look. Matt and I let out a huge sigh of relief and put a date on the calendar for lunchbox shopping.
So fast forward to the first week of school! Rising kindergarteners have a staggered entry the first three days of school, so depending on where your last name falls in the alphabet, the kindergartener’s first day was either Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. Our first day of school for Caroline was Tuesday! Then she returned to daycare on Wednesday (I know, super confusing) and then both daycare and school is closed on Thursday for Teacher Work Day. And then all of the Kindergarteners arrive Friday to learn their classroom placement and meet their teacher! Oh, and Thomas is out of school on Friday for another Teacher Work Day. So yeah, this week has been tough on us logistically and emotionally!
Originally, Matt and I wanted to create a special breakfast for Caroline on her first day of school. That quickly went out the window after considering how chaotic our first morning would likely be. So instead we opted for a special dinner. As many of you know, steak is a special food (a nod to Sandroni tradition) in our family so we knew it would be the perfect way to celebrate our Caroline. I also grabbed a mini cake from Publix and found a school bus on the floorboard of my car a few days earlier that I envisioned to be a perfect cake topper. But the icing on the cake (pun), was our extra special guest — grandma!!!
It meant so much to Caroline, to me, to all of us actually, to have grandma with us to celebrate this big milestone. As excited as I am to see my first baby head to school, I’ve been wrestling with some sadness as this is our first milestone I wish my dad could be part of on this side of heaven. Additionally, kindergarten is also a milestone my (birth) mom missed and is where the blank pages begin in my baby book I discovered a few years ago that prompted me to undergo my double mastectomy. So having mom there really meant the world to us.
On Caroline’s first day of school we proudly walked Caroline in to class. She was so brave and confident and marched right in, introduced herself to the teacher and sat down at a table and started to play. Although tears welled my eyes, I held it together. Meanwhile, we had to drag Matt out of her classroom…and only after Caroline assured him it was time for him to go and that she was fine. He would have sat outside her classroom all day if we let him.As for pick up…well, we may or may not have been one of the very last cars in the car pool line, so we’ve got some logistics to figure out. After scooping our sweet girl up we all went to dinner to hear about her day. She said it was the best day ever, her favorite part of the day was playing turtle tag in the gym and that she already made two new best friends. Something tells me she’s really going to have a great year!