Beth starts kindergarten today (Wednesday). On Tuesday we went to orientation with her, and a funny thing happened. All this week Beth has been a little unsure of the whole kindergarten thing. On Monday, her last regular day in her pre-k class, she was sent in with the “school age” class, since she would be one of them in 48 hours anyway. When I picked her up, she was a little traumatized by the experience. ” “Why can’t I stay in Ms. Cindy’s class daddy?” What do I say? Then, on the day of orientation, we are talking to one of the secretaries in the school office, and the individual addresses Beth, “so, how do you feel about starting kindergarten Beth?” “I’m scared”, she replied in an uncharacteristically quiet voice. So we’re sitting in the cafeteria on Tuesday with all of the other parents and kids and the principle announces that the teachers will be calling out their student’s names, and the kids are supposed to walk to the front so they can go see the classrooms with their new class. This is all supposed to happen sans parents. Sensing Beth’s unease earlier that day and the previous week, I was prepared for a look of betrayal in Beth’s eyes when the time came for her to walk off without us. Then it happened, they called her name. Cheryl turned around and said to Beth, “that’s it, it’s your turn to go up.” Without hesitation, Beth popped up and confidently trotted up to the front of the cafeteria and off to her class in the other room. I had mixed emotions. On the one hand I was glad that she was not too scared. On the other hand, it was almost a disappointment to not be needed. Beth is all of five years old, so there will be plenty of opportunities to be needed. But, the first crack in the wall of her dependence has appeared, and they only get bigger. Of course, our goal as parents is to raise her to be an independent, happy, wise, and caring person. Today I got my first glimpse of what that will really mean. It’s one thing to know it, it’s another to live it. It should be an interesting ride.