Oliver went off to pre-school this morning for the first time. At the Holland College Child Development Center. By lucky happenstance, the daughter of our friend Lowell (Oliver’s middlenamesake) is taking Early Childhood Education at Holland College, and so will be in and around Oliver and his peers a lot this year.
Catherine reports that Oliver ran all the way to school this morning, and didn’t bat an eye when she left. I take this simply as a determined effort on his part to rebel against my own anti-schooling feelings. No doubt he will start wearing a tie soon, and will insist on eating porterhouse steaks for dinner.
Beyond the usual “our little boy is growing up” sorrows (and their equal and opposite “our little boy is growing up!” excitements) this event has inspired, it’s personally daunting for me for an additional reason: my own first memories are of going to nursery school. I don’t remember nursery school clearly, but I certainly have strong impressions of the room and the routine and the people. It’s when my memory of life begins.
During the early years of Oliver’s life it was possible to console myself about my defects as a parent with the knowledge that his memory, at least his conscious memory, wasn’t compiling yet. If his experience mirrors my own, though, the “record” button has now been pressed. There are no do-overs left. And my performance as a parent will now officially become part of the record that will later be recalled over thanksgiving dinners when Oliver is 22 and wondering why he ended up the way he did.
Even as I type this, I can picture the grins of glee on my own parents faces as they read this. Turnabout is fair play.