Tuesday, August 24, 2010

And so it begins...

The summer Josh was a year and a half, I would pack him into our enormous stroller and push him up the hill to watch the dump trucks and earth movers flattening the site of our future neighborhood elementary school. He would hold onto the stroller tray with both hands and bounce back and forth when he saw the huge wheels churning dirt or heard the loud engines roar. "Truck! Vroom!" he would shout as he pointed and squealed with glee. It was the best show in town for a toddler with a truck fetish.

As summer turned to fall, we started to see more hammers and wood than trucks. Then concrete mixers and metal frames. And eventually drywall and roofing materials. One day we arrived just in time to see the construction team raise the giant metal beams that would support the peaked roof of the biggest building with a giant crane. Josh sat at the edge of his stroller seat mesmerized as the crane carefully guided the girders into place.

Some days we'd arrive just ahead of the roach coach, who would glide over the sidewalk and into the dirt while playing the car horn version of "La Cucaracha." These were always disappointing days because everyone would stop what they were doing for a fifteen minute snack break. So I'd take Josh for a walk while we waited for the action to resume. And I'd tell him about how one day that would be his school. As we walked, I would often mentally calculate just how long it would be until he finally started school. Each time, I was sure I'd counted wrong. How could it be so many years away? As the tired mother of a very active toddler, kindergarten seemed like the perfect panacea for the days when I fell into bed aching and exhausted after a long day of outrunning, outwitting, and outlasting my clever moppet. And three whole hours of free time — in a row — every day — seemed too extravagant to even wish for.

But then something strange happened. One night, Josh went to bed a chubby-faced munchkin who seemed to endlessly scheme new ways to wear me out, and he woke up a thin, lanky kid who can't ask enough questions, do enough science projects, or play enough Wii. And this morning, he slipped on his new dinosaur backpack and went to kindergarten. Just like that.
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