Like many parents this week my son’s summer vacation came to an end and he had his first day of the new school year. Again, like many of the parents it was my only/oldest child’s (in my case only child’s) first day of Kindergarten. So, not only was it a big first day for my son it was a big first day for me too. It was something that I had been both looking forward to as well as dreading, sometimes for the same reason!
It was both a good morning and a difficult morning for me, the difficult part being a result of the fact that my ex was — well, he was himself. A slightly more subtle version of himself, but himself none-the-less.
(Now I’m going to be honest and say that at this point in my writing I am feeling somewhat compelled to instinctively go on the automatic defense of myself by saying things like “I knew that my ex would want to be there for my son’s first day of school. I knew that my ex would most likely bring his girlfriend with him and I would never have done anything to stand in the way of that.” All of those statements, and many more that I could make, are true, but it is frustrating and exhausting to always feel like I should have to try and preempt people’s potentially negative judgements of me, so I am going to try and convince myself that I don’t need to do that and try to continue writing.)
As you might imagine the good portions of my morning were seeing my son who was nervous and excited be nervous and excited to start school. I was pleased that he was excited for me to make him a lunch (so that he could use his new lunchbox that matched his backpack), and that he gave me many many many hugs and kisses and told me that he loved me many times before he headed into his classroom. While I had expected to be at least a little emotional and maybe even cry a little bit when dropping him off for his first day of full-day school (Kindergarten in our area is full-day) I did not experience that and that was a little sad for me. That was one of the lesser things that made the morning difficult. As strange as it may sound, particularly to a non-parent, to be a little disappointed by the fact that I was NOT emotional, but I was.
I have little doubt that the only, yes only, reason that I was not emotional was the presence of my ex and his girlfriend. I truly believe that if I had been there alone or if my ex and I had still been together that I would have been at least a little emotional and even shedding a few tears when dropping the center of my universe off at his first day of big boy school. Sadly, nor not sadly as the case may be, I was too on edge because of some of the comments that my ex had made when all of us met up before my son’s school day began as well as his general attitude toward and treatment of me.
Despite the fact that there was some tension and stress when dropping off and saying goodbye at the door of my son’s Kindergarten classroom the encounter with my ex was relatively civil. This fact is almost as shocking as the fact that my son is old enough to already be in Kindergarten. How is that even possible?!?!?!? How could so much time have passed and with everything that I have gone through over the past 3 years how can it feel like that time has gone by so quickly? While I try not to think too far ahead regarding my son’s growing up I can’t help but feel like this week was his first day of Kindergarten and next week will be his High School graduation.