First day emotions
Last week, I had the strangest, brain-twisting experience that didn’t involve consuming something illegal.
I helped my son get dressed into his new school uniform.
This was already going to be an emotional experience. The little baby whose entire body could be held easily on one arm, who was all stretches and tiny yawns, who could just barely open his eyes, was now buttoning up a shirt and putting on a blazer and tie.
It felt like those two moments happened instantaneously. In my mind, he went from baby to big boy in a mere moment, and although I was, and still am, excited for the adventures he is embarking upon, I sort of...mourn for the baby that I used to know.
Is that weird? It feels weird to say out loud.
Anyway - there was another layer that added to the vertigo of the day. My boys are now going to the same primary that I attended, and my oldest is now wearing the same uniform that I wore...30 years later. I walked him to the same school gate that I was walked to, saw him run through the same quad to the same class that I sat in, nervously, as a skinny 6-year old.
Somehow, that completely overwhelmed little kid got to a point where he was bringing his kid to school. That is quite a journey.
So last week was more than just an emotional day because my baby is growing up so fast. It was a day that reminded of how far I’ve come, of what I endured and what I didn’t, where I succeeded and failed, and how, somehow, it all kind of worked out. I wish I could tell that scared child that in 30 years he would be able say that. It probably would have saved him many sore tummies.
The first day of school also showed me that I have a role in history. Maybe not a role that will be remembered by many, but hopefully the effects will be felt by at least a few for generations into the future. I may have been very anxious and scared about my days at school, but I can now help my kids walk through those gates with their heads held high, confident in themselves and their right to be there. And who knows what that could mean for their generation and the world they create going forward?
You see why it was brain-twisting? Not only was I thinking about what needed to be done on the day, but I was also thinking about that little baby from 7 years AND that little kid from 30 years ago.
That’s a lot for an emotional dad brain to hold at the same time.