The Washington Times-Herald

August 10, 2013

Son's first day at 'the big school' goes well

The Washington Times-Herald

---- — My son Colin, 5, had his first day of kinder- garten Friday at “the big school,” as he likes to call it. Like many parents, this day has been filled memories past and present.

In the days leading up to Colin’s big day at “the big school,” I have tried to recall many of the memories I had when I first entered North Elementary.

My family was still living on Eastside Park Road, before it became part of the city. The morning light came in heavy to the kitchen wall, where I stood along it while my mom took a picture with one of those Kodak disc cameras where the film was in a flat cartridge instead of the round ones. Then we went to school.

To be honest, that first day and Halloween were the only memories I could recall from my own kindergarten experience. My costume for Halloween was Admiral Ackbar from the Star Wars epic “Return of the Jedi.” It is probably the peak of my Halloween dress-up as I started not liking the fall holiday after a vandal broke my jack-o’-lantern a couple years later.

I don’t know what Colin will remember years from now, but I will never forget Friday. He was excited, as many children were in Washington, when he got to put on his new clothes, shoes and backpack that he has been waiting to strap on for a month now. My other son, Cooper, was also so excited because he got to put on his new shoes and backpack.

Colin is not a morning person, but he was ready to go as Dad got his camera out. Although the day was cloudy, the shot of Colin standing against the wall ready for the day when he is officially a kid was one of the best I will remember.

And then he had to clown in front of the camera as his brother was getting his picture taken.

Because I had to watch Cooper in the van, Colin’s mother took him into the same classroom where I had kindergarten so many years ago. He found his seat where he put his items the night before and waited for class to begin. According to my wife Allison, he asked her, “Where is my other friend?” A boy at his table had not arrived yet.

As I waited for the end of Friday, I probably felt like many parents — hoping their child would have a good first day and behave in the classroom. Most of my day was tearful as I thought about how my little boy had grown up. It’s hard to even type that last sentence without tears.

I’m happy to report that Colin did well on his first day at “the big school.” He will have good days and bad for the next seven years, but I’m happy to have this milestone on Friday.

I hope Colin will read this someday and know how proud I am of him. Cooper too, but his day will come in a couple years. More tears.

Nate Smith is a writer for the Times Herald and can be reached via email at or on Twitter at NateSmithWTH. He also has a Facebook page at