A bittersweet day. As Michael Allio sent his son, James, to kindergarten, the reality TV star was feeling plenty of emotions.
“And… I’m wrecked. James was so brave today. I couldn’t be more proud,” the Ohio native, 38, wrote via Instagram on Tuesday, August 30, sharing photos from the 5-year-old’s first day of school. “I knew today would be heavy, but I had no idea it would be this bad. I think it’s because we’ve just been through so much together.”
Allio continued: “From the onset, we faced nothing but uncertainty and obstacles. Yet, through it all, we’ve proven to each other that we can persevere as long as we have each other. Life isn’t fair. We know that all too well. Our life is far from ‘normal.’ That much we understand.”
The Bachelorette season 17 contestant previously welcomed James in September 2016 with wife Laura Ritter-Allio, who tragically died two years later after battling breast cancer.
“There isn’t one way to pursue happiness. Just never stop trying,” the Bachelor in Paradise season 8 star concluded his Tuesday message, sharing a sweet note for his son. “We refuse to compare ourselves to others … because ‘normal is boring.’ Your mother would be so proud of you today. We love you so so much ❤️.”
Allio and James twinned in matching peach shirts outside their home before school started, though the kindergartner’s said “Normal is Boring” across the front. James then proudly walked into the classroom carrying his blue backpack that had dinosaurs on it.
“My BOY!! Backpack game strong as hell,” fellow Bachelorette alum Tre Cooper commented on Tuesday. Andrew Spencer, for his part, was already advocating for James as a future class president.
After picking James up on Tuesday, Allio offered his followers a recap of the day’s events.
“He was incredibly brave this morning, way braver that I thought he’d ever be,” the business owner gushed via Instagram Story after previously “praying” James had a good day. “[I] dropped him off at school, walked [him] into his classroom [and] his beautiful cousin Maren was there waiting for him to make sure everything was alright. What an angel. By the time it was ready for me to leave, he started get a little teary-eyed but fought back tears. [He] was incredibly brave. Well done, champ.”
Allio continued: “When I came to go pick him up, you could tell that he was actually a little bit shook because he did not know how the transaction was going to go [with] the parent pickup, but teacher walked him out. I was, like, fifth in line, transaction went very smooth. Well done, teachers. Well done, Dad and overall, I think that’s a worry that’s going to go away in the upcoming days as he gets more comfortable. … So, hopefully each day gets progressively better. Let’s hope.”
Allio further noted that James himself rated the day a six out of 10, which was an “above average” mark for his dad.
Allio rose to fame as one of Katie Thurston’s season 17 suitors, however, he chose to leave the show early after realizing how difficult his absence was on James.
“It’s not something I wanted to do but as a parent, [it was an] easy decision. I would do it a million times again, just like I did there without thinking twice,” he exclusively told Us Weekly in July 2021 of his emotional departure. “I knew when I had to make that decision, that I was leaving an opportunity to pursue an amazing life with someone that I care about and finding that person is really difficult. And I think that’s kind of the conundrum parents and single parents always have [is] to balance time with someone that you love, like, your child and then you as an individual.”
Allio is gearing up to return to Bachelor Nation on season 8 of BiP, which premieres next month.
Scroll below to see photos from James’ first day of kindergarten: