I suppose technically, I’m a day late, but I’m going with the idea that a 30-minute “Orientation” doesn’t really count as your first day of 1st grade. But today? Today I woke you at 7am, fixed a waffle (thank goodness you’ve decided that homemade ones are better than Eggo’s — your two-at-a-time habit was getting expensive!), helped you do your hair, and explained a few things for you. I made sure you knew that your lunch money was in the little velcro pocket in your backpack. I told you to give all the filled-out forms, along with a check for future lunches, to your teacher. I sent you with markers and kleenex to donate to the classroom. Then I waved good-bye as you happily climbed in the back of Brendy’s car (I LOVE carpools!) and headed off.
Now it’s two in the afternoon. You’ll be home in about an hour and I can’t help but wonder if you liked the Turkey Dinner for lunch. Have you made any friends? How was recess? Did you remember your lunch code? Will you be able to find the official meeting place for pickup? Did you get in trouble for talking too much? Did you floor Mr. Yospe with your ability to read well beyond a normal 6-year-old level? Did anyone make fun of you or say something mean? Did you miss me?
Don’t answer that last one. Either way, it’s better if I don’t know.
I know that in previous years, I’ve spent a good part of your first day back to school all weepy and sad. I can’t deny that there’s a little bit of that today. But not like I thought. I figured I’d be a big, blubbering mess all day, what with you being away for so long. I’ll admit that it was weird not having you here for lunch. And Alex has asked at least eight times if you’re coming home yet. He’s not sure whether he should be bummed that he’s lost his partner in crime, or ecstatic that he has no competition.
And I do miss you. I’m sure if I dwelt on it, I could produce tears. But mostly, Cooper, I’m so proud of you. You are frighteningly smart (still) and usually kind. You’re funny, and most of the time you remember to throw your dirty clothes in the hamper. You’re a bit of a know-it-all, and I’m trying to figure out how to convince you that just because you’re right (which you, more often than not, are) doesn’t mean you can be snooty about it. You are goofy and are the least picky-eater-kid I know. I’ve started layering enchiladas like lasagna instead of rolling up each individual tortilla (so much easier!), and you my creative genius, when asked what we should call them, came up with “Enchileasy Stackaladas.” You love to quote (what you think are) funny lines from movies and television shows. Most of the time though, only Alex knows’s what you’re talking about. Early this Spring, you finally mustered up the courage to get on your big bike — you’d figured out the little one last fall. It didn’t take more than one or two trips around the cul-de-sac before you realized that there was no going back. Now if you’d just quit leaving it on the lawn… seriously, Coop. We ask you EVERY day. While we’re at it, could you also just stop with the hunched shouldered pout that you’ve got going on when you don’t get exactly what you want at the very milisecond you want it? Just know that I am never going to give you cookies at 5:00pm when dinner is in the oven. You can’t eat downstairs no matter how much you whine. Put your shoes in the closet so we don’t have to search for them EVERY SINGLE MORNING. And you will always get in trouble for hitting your brother even if he hit you first. He is THREE, Cooper. You are his example. You are his best friend. You are his big brother. I know you didn’t ask for that awesome responsiblilty, but that’s the way it happened, and I have every confidence that you will do it right.
And I’m so excited for you. You are finally old enough that you’re experiencing things I remember doing as a kid. I remember the halls of Bear Creek Elementary School vividly. Mrs. Bethany, my first grade teacher was great. And I loved school lunch pizza. I checked out a bunch of Shel Silverstein books from the library a few months ago, and you absolutely devoured them. You’ve been reading Encyclopedia Brown lately too. Last month, we went to Lagoon for the day, and you had more fun than I’ve ever seen you have. You went on the Wild Mouse, and The Spider, the White Roller Coaster and a bunch of other more “grown-up” rides, and loved every second of it. I’m kind of loving the almost-seven version of Cooper. I can’t wait to see what comes next.
Just as long as you keep coming home to me at the end of the day… for a few more years anyway.
Now I’m going to put June down for a nap and start a batch of cookies. Because every boy needs warm cookies for a snack after his first day of first grade. Love you, Coop.