Oh, the first day. I’m not even sure what to say except, oh. Maybe… Oy! Luckily the second day is always better. Much better. For me, my first two days were filled with sweet warm moments, the kind that make you remember, even in the chaos, the reason you do this. An unexpected smile. A sweet hug a little tighter than you thought such a small child could provide. New friends holding hands. Kindergarten really is nothing short of magical.
Yesterday, only our second day of school, we had a fire drill. Of course, we have to have many, and the timing is always set by folks well above me, so I do what I can to prepare my spouts. It’s a fine balance between making them understand the importance of the event without scaring them half to death. I do my best not to startle them, but invariably, when the alarm sounds, the looks of fear always settle in.
We hold hands. We walk quickly. We cover our ears. We don’t speak. There may be some tears. We do our best to comfort each other while we wait, for what seems like an eternity to go back inside.
On this first fire drill, as I walked up and down my line, patting backs and giving thumbs up, I saw a very distraught face. We were outside. We were together and safe, but he still looked unsettled.
My helper, Ms. C. approached him to find out what was wrong.
In a quiet whisper, he uttered, “I don’t think my brother got out of the building.”
His tears were coming.
You see, at our school, kindergarten through second grade lines up in one area and third through fifth in another. His brother is in third grade and, scanning his visible field of vision, he didn’t spot him.
“Oh sweetie, your brother right over there,” Ms. C. told him, pointing across the playground so he could see the bigger kids gathered.
Suddenly, his face morphed to one of relief and he simply let out a simple, “Phew.”
Eventually, we went back inside. We talked about how well we did. We talked about how our older siblings might not be with us. We’ll be less worried next week when we have another fire drill. Everyday we’re learning and growing, all the time, becoming a family and lodging ourselves into each others hearts.