Postscript: First Day

He clutched onto her dainty hand, his soft, tiny one only large enough to wrap around her thumb. On his other hand, his thumb rested in his mouth and Abigail scolded him for it, although she couldn't help but marvel at how cute it actually was. When scolded, Charlie dropped his thumb, giggling and moving his treasured stuffed koala into his now free hand.

He was dressed in a polo shirt and checkered pants, dressed up a bit more than usual for his first day. His hair had been tediously combed; a hard task for Abigail, who had held him down that morning. Her work was in vain, however, because now his hair stuck up on all ends. She did not try to fix it, figuring that the effort would be too much to let him squirm around before messing it up once more.

He shuffled quickly to match his mother's grown-up steps, occasionally glancing up at her to gauge her reaction about where they were headed. She was reserved, and even 20-month-old Charlie could tell. There was something she wasn't saying but he ignored it, not completely understanding his mother's actions.

They walked into a reception hall and were met with bright colors over a white wall, painted in the shapes of rainbows and colorful circus animals. Charlie's hazel eyes widened, and he took in his scenery with complete wonderment. On the wall, there was a window from which an older woman poked her head. She had been sitting at a desk, it seemed, and was taking note of who came and left the building. She greeted the mother and son and smiled down at Charlie before returning her gaze to Abigail, equally happy to see her.

"And how is our Charlie doing today?" She crooned. He stared up at her, his thumb finding its way back into his mouth. Abigail didn't have the heart to remove it again.

"He seems fine, just a bit unsure. Or maybe it's just translating from me, I don't know." She laughed nervously, moving to sign Charlie in on the sheet left at reception.

"He'll be fine, Abigail. He's a brilliant boy."

"He gets that from his father." She smiled fondly and moved down a hallway on their right. It was filled with strollers and crying babies, of unwilling parents giving their last goodbyes as they walked unsteadily back down the hall. Abigail gripped Charlie's hand tighter and led him to a door just like all the others. When it opened, it revealed that there was just as much chaos in this room as the many others they'd passed.

A woman's voice called Charlie's name and he smiled, unsure demeanor quickly fading away. She hugged Abigail tightly, reassuringly.

"Alright, Char, mum will be right down the hall with the babies. I'll pick you up after nap time, ok? You-" He was gone, toddling over to a boy with shiny blonde hair, who was playing with a row of toy cars. Abigail sighed. "Char! Come give mummy a hug and a kiss!"

He giggled in response, running back over to her and collapsing into her arms. This only lasted a brief moment, however, and soon he was gone once more. She frowned. Sheila put her hand on Abigail's shoulder, making a face of pity. Having had two kids, she knew the feeling all too well.

"All of a sudden it's like he's a little man, isn't it?" Abigail nodded in agreement, trying to hold back tears. Her eyes felt misty, as if she were stuck in a crowd of fog.

"He's so grown up now. 29 months before today, I was learning what I thought was the worst news I'd heard. I was sitting in a bathroom stall just crying, not knowing what to do. Nine months from there I was introduced to the most beautiful baby…and now he's so big…" She watched Charlie as he played with his new friend, adoring his light tenor voice as he giggled, making the car go up a pretend hill.

"He'll be fine, Abigail." Sheila promised, leading her slowly to the door. "Go enjoy your first day of work, he'll be so happy to see you when you come back. The day will fly by, don't worry."

Abigail closed the classroom door behind her, joining the now diminishing crowd of parents. She glanced one more time into the classroom and smiled softly. He'd be fine.