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Solo Trek

Maddie has entered the school by herself.
And she has survived.

Yesterday, as I mentioned, was the first day parents were not
allowed to walk children to their classroom. Instead, we got to
hover around the front door while our babies walked in unescorted,
dwarfed by their backpacks too big for their slender shoulders,
marching off to seven hours of hard labor – that is, of
course, unless they got permanently lost on the way to the
classroom, or kidnapped by a hidden child molester in B hall.

Ok, so I had a few concerns.

But several of the kids did, too, and that
can’t help but make a parent anxious. The night before,
Maddie and I ran through the route from the door to her classroom.
We made plans for her to walk in holding her friends’ hands,
and Maddie felt confident she could do this.

And you know what? She had no worries when the time came. She
appeared almost excited – darn her – and supremely
ready. We gathered our neighborhood posse of kids by the door, and
all six of them grabbed hands, ready to enter. There was a moment
of sorting out exactly how six kids could pass through the door at
once, joined as they all were, but it worked itself out and in they
marched, a Red Rover-type wave of five-year-olds finding comfort in
their peers and strength in numbers.

I, of course, stood at the door and stared feverishly through the
cracked door, watching them disappear down the hall. Gangs of older
third-and-fourth graders parted before them in their magnificent
onslaught, and you could see their shoulders straightening and
ownership of their own routine beginning.

At the very end of the hall, a left turn takes you to the
kindergarten wing, and I watched, fascinated, as the amoeba of kids
began side-stepping, one at a time, executing a military-like
maneuver as they made the corner. Last I saw, they were strung out
single-file moving laterally down the hall.

Back home, Maddie gloated over her triumph, and it’s clear
this is not going to be an issue again.

My baby. One step further away from me.


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