I didn’t know how hard this would be. I figured it would be easy, taking Aiden to Kindergarten. Hell, I was proud of him. He had done so well in preschool and had aced his entrance exam to school. Steve and I got him into a private school that would ensure he would have the best opportunities going forward.
So why am I bawling my eyes out?
Five minutes ago, I had taken Aiden to class for his very first day of school. Aiden was a little ball of energy, trying to break free of my hand and see everything that his new school had to offer.
And then, after a brief word with his teacher, I went to say goodbye. Everything changed then. Despite trying to explain what would happen beforehand, Aiden clearly didn’t understand that I would be leaving for a little bit.
Aiden just started to cry and beg me not to leave him.
“Don’t go,” he had repeated over and over again through all of the tears.
“I’ll be back a little later,” I tried to comfort him.
But it didn’t work as Aiden threw himself into my arms, crying into my shirt. I didn’t know what to do, as I tried to calm Aiden down. I rocked him and told him it would all be okay, but nothing worked.
Finally, Aiden’s teacher came over to us. She told Aiden what a fun time they would have, but Aiden still didn’t stop crying. In the end, she leaned over and whispered in my ear that the only way for him to stop would be for me to leave. I looked at her, shocked, but she clearly knew what she was talking about.
So, with one last round of assurances and hugs and kisses, I walked out of the room. I could hear Aiden’s cries and screams as I walked down the hall.
That was when my own tears started.
Now, I’m sitting in my car, crying my eyes out as I think of my baby boy hurting inside. I wrap my arms around myself, trying to tell myself that it would all be okay. That I will come back in three hours and pick Aiden and he’ll be the happy, smiling boy I know. But for now, all I feel is sick.
With a shaking hand, I pull my cell phone out of my pocket and hit the first speed dial button. I had told Steve that he didn’t need to take the day off for this. That I could handle it all by myself. How wrong I was!
“Hey, Joey,” Steve says, his happy voice coming over the phone speaker. “How was it?”
“Steve,” I say desperately.
“Baby, what’s wrong?”
“I think we made a mistake.”
“What do you mean? Is Aiden okay?”
“No. He cried so hard, Steve. And I didn’t want to leave him like that, but his teacher said that it would be best. He begged me not to leave him. Begged me. And I did.”
Steve sighed. “Honey, it will be okay.” I didn’t know how Steve managed to deceiver my rant, but he did. And I couldn’t be happier about it.
“You don’t know that.”
“Aiden is a tough kid. He will be fine. And when you go back to pick him up, you’ll see.”
“I wish you were here.”
“Hey, you’re the one who said you would be fine. And you will be. But if you want, why don’t you come over to the office and you can hang out while we wait for him to be done.”
“Okay. I’ll be there soon.”
“Alright. I love you, Joey.”
“Love you too.”
As I disconnected the call, I tried to keep my tears from falling. But it just didn’t work. For the first time, all of the comfort that Steve gave me wasn’t enough. Aiden was hurting and I couldn’t do anything about it. And I knew that while Aiden would one day be okay with going to school, I wasn’t sure that my pain from this day would ever go away.
And there’s Part 26! I hope nobody minds jumping ahead in Aiden’s life. There will be many more snapshots to come, starting with next Monday. See you then!