"The person whose problems are all behind them is probably a school bus driver” – Mark Twain
One of the many things I despise about living with the trauma of adoption is that it never really ever goes away. Its always there. Hiding under the surface, peeking out, watching me, retreating, waiting with baited breath to rear its ugly, weepy, painful head.
My youngest son, my last child, will start kindergarten next week. Its full day. 9 a.m to 4 pm. He is well prepared academically and socially since he spent the past two years in a daycare and preschool environment. I am a tad bit worried about his napping. He is still a napper. I am not sure if they get naps in kindergarten? I did but so much has changed in school. I learned to read phonetically. My oldest son learned the wretched whole language approach. I learned to add numbers by carrying the ones. My oldest son learned some funky new math that did weird grouping stuff.
School is different now. But the emotion of watching your little ones reach that milestone is not.
When my oldest son started school the bus stop was right in front of our house. All the parents in the development came, with their coffee cups in hands, chattering and taking photos of all the soon to be anointed school kids. I still have the pictures of my sons first steps onto the big yellow school bus. He got on the bus with his Thomas the Train backpack with overwhelming excitement. His smile was wide and clearly said “I am a big kid now”. I cried as I snapped those pictures. My baby was no longer a baby.
As I tried to enjoy his moment, I was struck, as I always am, about how I never got that moment in my daughters life. What kind of backpack did she have? Was it Cabbage patch? The Olsen Twins? Did her adoptive mother take pictures? Did she go on a school bus? Did they drive their only precious child? Did she have those big huge glasses in kindergarten or did they come later? Who was her kindergarten teacher? At what stage in her school days was my daughter labeled, like I was, a gifted child?
I try to beat those thoughts into submission and not allow them to ruin my moments with my other children but they are always there. Mixed in with the tears of joy for my children’s milestones are tears of sadness for my daughter and I. I am never able to completely be there for my sons. There is always a shred of pain and sadness.
My youngest, Stefan, will start school on Wednesday. The bus stop is moved. A mile or so from our house. We could drive him to school but for some reason I feel he deserves the right of passage to ride the big yellow school bus and wave with pride at mom and dad as they pull away.
Did my daughter get that experience? Who was she waving at? I know she wasn’t thinking about me at that age for not only was she too young but it would be a few more years before she was to learn she was adopted.
On Wednesday, I am going to TRY to be happy and smile for my son. Maybe when I wave at him I will pretend I am waving at her 5 year old self next to him and I can let that painful memory (or lack of memory) pull away on the bus as well.