We survived the first day.
No call. No tears. No arson.
All in all, a good start to the first grade.
Now you may think that I am being a bit melodramatic—after all, Kemp is a good kid—but I am also being realistic after the ups and downs of last year.
No child is perfect, and this is a lesson that we learned the hard way when Kemper came back from Christmas break last year. He has matured exponentially over the summer, and I knew that he would be in a different place, with a different teacher, who has more experience and, perhaps, more patience with little boys who just want to make you laugh.
The kid has a heart of gold, as I did at his age. He only wants to please, and I lose sight of this in the moments where he is being obstinate or so literal that it makes you want to pull the three hairs you have left on your head out (personally speaking). I lost some of that innocence and pureness of spirit in college and law school, but I feel like I am slowly gaining it back—which just goes to show that it does not have to be lost.
I know that I need to foster this uncharacteristic empathy and softness inside of him, and make him understand that despite the sometimes-toxic masculinity that the world presents as the paradigm, it is ok to be sensitive and caring, and it is ok to embrace the empathy that is innate within him. I hope that he is able to hold onto these characteristics for as long as he can, at least through his formative years, because it is a lot easier to go back to a learned behavior than to start from scratch.
So now we wait for the call. Maybe it will not come this year. Maybe he’s bled all of the angst from his system, but I don’t think so. I see the anxiety in his great big brown eyes, and the concern for things much larger than himself, and in those concerns, I revisit my own childhood and force myself to think of how I can make it easier for him, how I can facilitate finding himself in the morass that is growing up.