Kindergartener drawing with markers.

It is hard to wrap my brain around this. I remember taking Angelo home from the hospital. How terrified I was of loading that carseat into the back of my car the first time. How I nearly caused an accident because I kept looking in the rearview mirror instead of at the road. He was so very tiny, and every time I had to dress him I was afraid I would break his arms trying to get him into his clothes.

I can see the spot in the kitchen where he took his first step. We don’t have it on video because we weren’t expecting him to walk at 9 months. I can look at that square of carpet and see it in my mind so clearly. I remember his first word—“mama.” He said that while we were feeding him dinner one night. I remember looking at my wife and just seeing her entire face light up like it was Christmas.

All these little miracles, these milestones, they all feel like yesterday.

The date has been circled on the calendar for awhile now: Angelo’s first day of kindergarten. He was in preschool last year but it wasn’t all day and it didn’t really matter if he went to school or not, preschool here doesn’t really count for anything and you don’t really get a report card. But this is the big time now. They take attendance and the state gets involved if he isn’t showing up enough. I don’t know if they get actual grades yet—guess I will find out soon enough—but he gets a report card. I can’t believe it. My little man is going to bring home a report card!

We had to get him school supplies. That felt weird. Last year all the parents just kicked in a few dollars and the teachers got whatever they needed for the classroom. But now he needed a backpack and pencils and scissors. All kinds of stuff. I saw the list and my jaw dropped. I can see him in my head when he was still standing on tiptoes to reach the doorknob. And now I have to put him on a bus so he can be away from us all day.

I will admit that the idea of him being away from home all day is freaking me out a little. That’s where it starts, right? It will start slowly—he will come home asking about stuff the other kids say and I’ll have to explain it. Eventually, he’ll decide what they say is right and I don’t know anything. I am not looking forward to that. My wife tells me I just have to have faith that we’re raising him the right way. But how do I know that when he’s only six?

It all seems too soon, doesn’t it? Maybe I should have asked if we could redshirt him for a year. Bench him and keep him back in preschool just a little longer…