It’s only preschool (I keep telling myself). But GOOD GOD. It feels real. Four mornings a week, and he’s going to be having lunch with those people. Lunch!
I am regretting all of my choices. I am seriously considering homeschooling. But still, I am going through the school checklist, labeling. Adding hearts, hoping that they’ll remind him of how much he’s loved.
R picks out his outfit very carefully. He wants to wear the hat and suspenders from Scotti’s wedding. He puts on his TOMS, by himself. They are worn down and his toes peek through. My heart breaks at the sight of those dirty little toes. Will someone make fun of him? I put Pax in the carseat. And then it’s time. Off we go.
Once we arrive, R confesses that he’s nervous. And takes off his hat. Pax looks up, hopefully: “Ha?” he asks? “Ha?”
“Sure, buddy” Raines replies, putting it on Pax’s head. We pause outside. I’m Miss Upbeat, and have the boys pose for a picture.
Game faces. Both of ’em.
How about a smile, boys? I ask.
Hand in hand, they go inside. Brothers, together. Brothers supporting each other.
We are late, per usual. All of the other kids are playing. Raines walks in and immediately sits down at the art table. He seems excited. This is good.
He shoots me a look. You can go now, Mom.
I collect Pax and leave. As we’re going, I take one last look back. Raines is sitting at the art table, brush in hand, bent over his paper in concentration. Sitting, all alone, while other kids play around him.
I make it back to the car before the tears start. Barely.
How does something as ordinary as school seem like such a leap of faith? Do these people know that my world is in that classroom? My whole world?
I think I hate school.