Jack’s First Day

The first day of a new school is an emotional roller coaster for not just the student, but for the entire family.  I received a call from the Child Welfare Department (it sounds like  CPS, but it’s not–daycare centers are government run, so that department handles enrollment) at the Ward Office in November stating that Jack cleared the waitlist for the daycare by our home.  Phone calls are so hard for me: I can’t rely on the non-verbal cues from the speaker (gestures, facial expressions, etc.).  Not to mention there are phone formalities that I’m not too well versed in, which led to an awkward first few minutes because the caller tried to confirm a few times that he had reached the correct party.  As he’s relaying the news that Jack could start the following month, and giving me procedural details, I repeat my understanding to him so that we are on the same page.  What I didn’t realize is that Jack was listening and as soon as I hung up, he exclaims, “Mommy!! I can start school!!  Is tomorrow my first day?!?”  The excitement on his face was priceless–he was so ready to start, but I, on the other hand, had mixed emotions.

Getting set up in a new country with 2 young kids in tow, was extremely challenging.  So when Zachary started school, it was easier to manage visits to the Ward Office and department stores with just Jack.  But there were days when Jack didn’t want to go with me and when I convinced him he had no choice, he would persistently ask when he too, could start school.  I felt bad that circumstances were preventing this very social and curious boy from activities and friends that a preschool/daycare setting would provide.  But, after getting the call, I yearned for more “Mommy and Jack” time with the little guy.

Here are some funnies that he alone could come up with.  We call them Jackisms:

  • After doing something kind for me: “Mommy, did that fill up your bucket….with slime?” 
  • “Why is it called ‘vacant’ when no one is inside?  It should be ‘vacan’ since you CAN go in there.” 
  • As I open the lid to my salad that I bought for our picnic lunch in the park: “I hope you like prison food, mama.”
  • While searching for his Optimus Prime transformer, I say, “Go check the spare room. You know the extra room across from your room.”  “Mommy, do you mean the security workroom?  That’s what it’s called, you know.”  

At looking at this sign:

“Oh, that means no playing catch the food with the kitty.”

Recognizing it would be an adjustment for us as well as the daycare, they asked him to stay for a few hours each day the first week, which was fine by me!  That first day, we walked there and I snapped a photo in front of the building.

He looks a little unsure of his new school.
His outdoor shoe cubby.
I had to label each item; labeling the individual crayons was tricky!**

It was hard for me to leave him there, but he was so ready and immediately joined a group of kids playing Legos.  He found his peeps.  I turned, and slowly walked away realizing it is the beginning of a new chapter.

**for those keen folks who noticed his name is written in katakana and hiragana, the correct way is in katakana since his name is not Japanese.  But the school is teaching the kids hiragana letters, so halfway through labeling, the school asked me to switch to hiragana for learning purposes.


  1. Yay Jack!! So brave going off to school. He has such a cute sense of humor. I love hearing his take on the world. He looks so much bigger!! His Gigi is proud of him.🤗
    Thanks for sharing.💓


  2. Oh Lori…a mother never forgets the feeling she had that first day of school! I cried! Love the Jackisms! He is such a special little guy! Thank you for sharing your journey with us!


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