It means a lot, this day. For where there was once a chubby-faced, sparkley-eyed baby, who was surely too small to entrust to the care of a daycare provider; there was then a small, rosy-cheeked, finger-sucking child, who was surely too young to go to preschool and make new friends so quickly; now there is a slender-bodied, bandy-legged, toothy-grinned young girl, who is surely too inexperienced to face the world of Kindergarten with such foolhearted bravery.
But she did.
She dressed in full Kindergarten splendor: a comfortable cotton dress (not a new one, but one of her favorites), with a long-sleeved shirt underneath, set off by her shiny new school shoes. She heaved her backpack on, and carried her lunchbox herself.
We talked a lot about riding the school bus. Each kid is responsible for his or her own behavior, because there are no grown-ups to monitor it. Seats are for sitting only, never for feet or for standing. If there's an emergency, listen for the driver's instruction and quickly do exactly as you're told. Sit where you see an open seat, and stay in your seat until you arrive at school. And don't worry, because the bus only goes to one place, which is your school.
Except that when we arrived at the bus stop, we met a 2nd-grader and 4th-grader, headed to a different school, who informed us that the bus first stops at their school, and then goes to Eleanor's. We relayed this new information to Eleanor, who listened, unfazed by this wrench in the Grand Bus-Riding Plan.