I am having a hard time wrapping my brain around first grade. I mean, FIRST GRADE. First grade is the real deal. Wito is growing up so fast, yet still needs me so much, and finding that balance between standing back and being there for him (letting him order his own food, yet still wiping his face with a napkin…allowing him to use the boys changing room at the pool, yet him needing me to pull up his wet swim trunks that won’t budge) is such a learning curve.
It’s just a strange time. (For me, that is. Wito couldn’t be happier.)
We changed school districts this year, so I’ve been a ball of nerves about Wito making friends. He is such an eternal optimist and dreamer, that kid. Always so excited about seeing new places and people, yet blissfully unaware of feelings of rejection or nervousness or animosity. He’s the type of kid who says things like (just yesterday), “It’s just a wonderful day for swimming, isn’t it?” and remarking that everything around him is just so fun and exciting. (I will never forget landing in the Oklahoma City airport last Christmas. Wito, the kid who has grown up amidst forever blue skies, palm trees and ocean breezes, stepped off the plane, looked around, and said, “this is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.”)
Now, all of these traits are absolutely endearing, but you know, it’s not the most typical typical first grade boy behavior. There is a prevailing “coolness” that starts to fester within a lot of boys at this age…and that’s just not Wito’s forte. Coupled with such a bright and complex brain that NEVER stops churning out ideas and daydreams and elaborate schemes, he can seem a bit lost in his thoughts at times. (Okay, okay. REALLY lost in his thoughts. The boy…he has a lot of thoughts. Wonder where he got that from?)
The Absent-Minded Professor.
While chatting with a loving teacher from his previous school last month, she used that term to describe him, and it was like a total Oprah a-ha moment. YES. THAT IS MY SON. Exactly.
So how’s the Absent-Minded Professor doing at his new school? According to him, great! Things couldn’t be better!
“How was school today?”
“Did you meet any new people?”
“Ummm, I’m not sure. Maybe?”
“How was lunch? Did you sit with any friends from class?”
“No. I just sat with people I didn’t know.”
“Did you all talk about anything?”
“No. I just sat at the end and ate my lunch alone. I was very hungry, and I was thinking about stuff.”
CUE MAMA BEAR HEART RIPPING OUT OF CHEST.
But here’s the thing. He’s okay with it. Hell, he’s great with the way things are. Just yesterday, while we were swimming at our neighborhood pool, I watched him happily splashing around by himself, daydreaming of who knows what while a group of boys played at the other end. I briefly felt a little pang that he wasn’t playing with them, but I got it. I understood. Because next to to the group of boys were all the moms chatting and laughing…and where was I? Sitting under an umbrella across the pool, reading a a book, and well, thinking about things. Perfectly content.
He will find his tribe, like we all do. I just need to stand back (yet be there!) and let him find his way.