45 minutes ago, I dropped Bud off for his first day of Kindergarten. I can't breathe.
This is a new school for Bud, and he doesn't know any of the other kids. The day is structured so that they start out on the playground. Bud was very brave as we got to school, and even smiled for a picture. We headed out onto the playground and I made a beeline for the playground aides and introduced Bud to them, explaining that he didn't know any of the other kids and that he is autistic.
One of them blinked at me. "We're just the playground aides."
"Right," I said. "You need to know that he might leave the playground and head for the woods."
"Oh," she said. "We'll keep a close eye on him." Bud walked over to the slide and stood by as hoards of children swirled and romped around him. He was quiet, but didn't seem anxious or overwhelmed. He didn't even put his hands over his ears. He just stood.
Not wanting to drag it out for him any longer than necessary, I said the goodbye we've been practicing for weeks and made the long walk to the car. I couldn't resist the temptation to look back over my shoulder, and saw Bud watching me. He waved as my broken heart and I got in the car and drove away.
Okay, I admit it. Once I was out of sight, I parked the car and walked back to peer around the side of the building. Bud was standing in the same place, but instead of watching the parking lot he was watching the kids. I went back to the car and drove away again.
Okay, okay. I left the school, then circled back around to do a drive-by from a distance. Bud was in the middle of a group of kids and teachers. But he didn't seem upset, and no one seemed to be consoling him. I finally screwed up the courage to leave.
It is taking every ounce of strength I have to keep from sneaking down to the school to peek in the windows. I have two hours and ten minutes to wait until I can pick him up.
I still can't breathe.