Publisher Awakens To 1st Day of Kindergarten
Child excitedly dons uniform; parents enjoy conflicted senses of joy, existential dread
Vignettes from this morning’s first day of school:
She dons her new backpack and claims, “It fits me perfectly!”
She decorates her new shiny silver shoes with rainbow and unicorn stickers, muttering that her teacher “will love the hearts”.
She strikes a power pose, unprompted, at the front door of our building, waiting for me to take her photo.
Two blocks away, as we approach school, a line of children and their parents wraps around an entire city block; we are fortunate that Kina is in kindergarten and has a separate line and entrance, which is also slammed.
The health form website is down; I fill out a paper form, which has exactly four checkboxes on it and is made of paper, which never goes down.
Other parents from yesterday’s meetup are present; we greet them like fellow chauffeurs in a crowded parking lot, looking out over the crowd for our passengers.
People are desperate to rid themselves of any obligations to which they have no genetic relation; envelopes of money, rolls of paper towels, and boxes of tissue are handed to random teachers.
In the rush, I forget my traditional goodbye of “high five, fist bump, big hug” and just squeeze Kina close as people shuffle around us on the sidewalk; wanting to enter the building, she wriggles ferociously.
Parents are lined up along the wrought iron fence, watching as their children calmly meet their teachers and calling out like groupies; I join them and stare quietly at Kina as she clutches an unopened box of tissues and waits her turn.
I think about the first day of school, two years ago, when all the children wept as the parents slowly walked out of the classroom.
Today is very different.