One of the interesting things about sending a child off to kindergarten, especially as a stay-at-home mom, is suddenly having so little information about what they do all day long. For the past five-and-a-half years, I’ve had almost complete down-to-the-minute knowledge of every bite Braedan eats, each child he plays with, how many times he uses the bathroom. And now I send him off into the world for six hour stretches and then have to patiently coerce the teeniest bits of information out of him.

I’ve learned to ask very specific questions, well beyond “How was your day? What did you do?” I know enough now to ask who the “star” of the day was, which teacher walked them to the music room, what exercises they did in gym class, whether they finished the book they started yesterday. I know to take some of it with a grain of salt, like when I asked how long rest time was and he responded, “Uuuuuummmm, oooohhhh, maybe two hours?” I can ask about the boys who sit at the “orange table” with him, although I can’t yet picture their faces.  This is a major shift after three years of parent helping at a co-op preschool, where not only could I put a face to each name but I knew which kid was obsessed with cats, which one always asked for seconds at snacktime and which one hated to play outside in the winter. I can only begin to imagine the black hole I’ll be left in when he goes off to middle school and answers all my inquiries with “Fine” or “Nothin’ much.” And then college, aaahhhh, where parents don’t even know where — or with whom! — their children sleep each night (sorry, parents of college students, for putting that thought in your heads, but really . . . ).

But he’s loving it. So happy with his teacher and excited about his new friends. He is slowly slowly slowly adjusting to the long days and early mornings, although we’ve still had many a meltdown in the late afternoon. This morning was the Father Walk, designed to get fathers more actively involved in the education of their children. So Mark took him to school and they had breakfast with several hundred others in the cafeteria. Mark said it was packed, well beyond what the organizers had expected and they ran out of food, which seems to be a pretty good sign.

So I will continue to ship him off each day into the grand unknown and will trust others to raise and watch and guide my child and then will savor the bits of his day that he shares with me. Letting go starts so early.