I dropped my son off for his first day of kindergarten today. Actually, it wasn't just me. My wife and our 3-year-old and 7-month-old were also there for the milestone event.
For this first day, parents were allowed to walk into the school with their kids. So we all walked in, Ryan with his Spider-Man backpack on his back, gripping his mom's hand, and me in charge of the other two boys.
We went into the cafeteria, where the teachers and principal had the kids sitting in rows by signs for their teachers. There was a little presentation, a song for the kids, and then it was time for the parents to say goodbye.
As we walked out, I could see both excitement and anxiety on Ryan's face. We blew kisses to each other and waved. As other parents blocked Ryan's view of us, I could see him moving his head so he could keep seeing us as we left. He kept on waving and blowing kisses. I waved one last time and blew one last kiss to him and walked out of the cafeteria.
He'll be fine, I'm sure. All morning he was talking about the excitement of the first day of school and that he couldn't wait to ride the bus home. But it's hard seeing that concerned look on your child's face.
You want to protect your kids forever. Keep them small and innocent. But time moves on. Before my wife and I know it, our 3-year-old will be starting school, and then our littlest will be in school.
And, although it's hard to believe, someday we'll be sending Ryan off to college. We'll say goodbye to the boy who just weeks ago was celebrating how he could tie his shoes in double knots.
When that day comes, I know my head will be filled with lots of thoughts. And one image:
Ryan waving and blowing kisses to me on his first day of kindergarten.