The radio alarm clock springs to life, "Lights" by Journey rousing me from a fitful sleep. I guess it's a little kinder than AC/DC. Six am comes awful early when you've been able to sleep in for the last ten days or so. I shouldn't complain, and I don't, not out loud anyway. My body, on the other hand, creeks like the wooden floorboards in my house.
I scan the kitchen and take inventory of what still needs to be done.
Coffee brewing. Check.
Future Cardiologist's clothes laid out. Check.
Bookbag, school supplies accounted for. Check.
All that's left is to wake up my sleepy little man.
"Wakey wakey, hon... Time to get up." FC is completely hidden by his green comforter. He doesn't move. I reach under the blanket where his head should be and grab a foot.
"FC... come on, babe. Time to get up. Aren't you excited to go back to school?" I peel back the comforter and rub his back gently.
"mmmmmFFFFFlllllllmmmm FFFFFFwwwweeeeep." FC rolls over, employing that age old belief that if he doesn't see me, I'm not really there.
"FC, don't make me turn the lights on. Come on little guy."
"Ohhhhhkaaaay. I'm coming." He sits up a second later, rubbing the crusties out of his eyes.
The smell of fresh coffee lingers in the air. It's one of my favorites. I blame EMS for my coffee addiction. I pour my first cup and sit at the table across from FC.
"Are you excited?" I'm checking my email on the laptop.
FC slurps his cereal happily. He nods, "Mmhmm. Do you think I can play soccer this fall?"
"Baby, you can do whatever you want to. Do we have to go over the rules like we did last year?" FC is a very excitable child... He doesn't have many kids around our house to play with, and as a result he tends to bounce off the walls at school. Last year we would recite the rules every morning on the way to school in an effort to keep his head on straight.
FC rolls his eyes. "Moooom. We don't have to -- I know them."
"When your teacher speaks... You---" I know he knows them. We're going over them anyway.
FC rolls his eyes again and exhales hard. "I know, Mom, I shut my mouth."
"Don't roll your eyes, FC. Okay, what's next?" I close the laptop and make eye contact with him. I put on my "Mommy Means Business" face.
"Keep my hands to myself. Be respectful and honest to everyone. No talking when the teacher says its quiet time." He smiles his precious smile and melts my heart.
"Please, FC... You are a good kid. Don't get into trouble on the first day. At least wait until tomorrow."
"Mom, you're funny."
There's a lot of truth said in jest.
The ride to the school is silent. FC's thinking, I can tell. He's his Mother's Son, that's for sure. He's anxious. The little terror from last year will be in his class again this year. I let him know in no uncertain terms that we will not have a repeat of last year.
We've spent a lot of time working on reinforcing his self confidence. We've worked on things he can say when this little terror starts teasing him. FC will be okay, he just doesn't realize it yet.
The new entrance to the school is not marked at all. We drive past it twice before giving up and using the old entrance. (To my credit it's a quarter mile away from the school on a completely different street) Everyone else has the same idea, resulting in a massive traffic jam.
I love the first day of school. LOVE it.
"FC, do you want me to walk you in?" Finally... The question. It was his answer that I was dreading.
One more year, FC... Just give me this one last year to walk you in.
So I walked him in... Probably for the very last time. I didn't cry, although I might have gotten a little misty watching him walk into class. I'm proud to say held his head high. He walked tall.
I'm so proud.