Ben's had minimum days all weeks because it's parent/teacher conference time (our first!) and so in the morning he gets to go to recess with the big kids on the big playground, which is louder and crazier than the tiny, regulated kindergarten-only playground. So he was all excited this morning because now he's gotten used to it. He ran away from me, dropped off his backpack, quickly kissed me and ran around the corner and all the way across the asphalt to the big playground.
I said goodbye to him, but I secretly followed so I could watch him. He was wearing a bright red sweater and seemed to be the only one with bright yellow hair, so it was easy to see him among the screaming and running kids all around. His confident run slowed to a jog, which slowed to a complete stop when he realized there was no one he recognized anywhere around him. He folded his hands in front of his body and just stood there, confused, vulnerable. It took everything in me not to dart across and scoop him up in my arms. He just looked so little.
But I waited. I told myself that I can't just scoop him up when he feels unsure, that he has to learn how to deal with this. I waited and waited. 2 minutes felt like forever. And then, suddenly, his friend Kimberly yelled his name, and they ran towards each other like people run towards each other in slow motion on the beach in movies and commercials. They threw their arms around each other, and Kimberly held Ben's hand and they skipped away, utterly happy. And a part of me was so happy that he is doing so well in kindergarten, that he has good friends who love him and accept him. But every day, he grows more independent from me. I know this is all part of the deal, but it's such a bittersweet feeling; it makes me incredibly proud and incredibly sad all at the same time.