And just like that, he's a school kid now. The first morning was full of little tells and giveaways that he was uncertain and nervous, though he told me he was not. He asked to take his stuffed monkey to school so he wouldn't be afraid. I told him Mr. Fuzzy-Wuzzy could ride in the car, and would be waiting for him when we picked him up. On the drive, I heard whispers "You don't have to be scared. I'm only going to be there a little while, and then I'll come right back to you," and I wasn't sure whose voice Stinky was speaking in.
We arrived at the school, where panic set in- not for Stinky, but for me. Holding Rotten tight, and biting the inside of my cheek, I kept myself together for Stinky, who looked strangely small, especially given that his height put him at a head taller than most of his class. Finding his class's line, he looked around nervously. Then, as is his nature, he found a classmate from the previous days' meet-and-greet nervously holding tight to his mom, flashed a friendly grin and shouted his name. "Come stand with me for kindergarten! How cool is that?!" The boy smiled, released his mother's hand from his death grip, and ran over to Stinky. The two compared backpacks and lunchboxes, until the bell rang and their teacher came for them.
I kept my composure until he turned for one last look, waved, and walked into the building. Then I had my one and only kindergarten cry in the van, took a walk on the waterfront, and bought myself some mums. By Friday, he was asking me to let him walk from the car by himself. We compromised with a walk to the corner, and a hug. Always a hug. Now in full-day kindergarten, he happily hugs me at the corner, smiles at the crossing guard, and walks into the school without looking back.