This morning my oldest daughter started First Grade.*Swoon* & *Sigh* My stomach was nervous all last night for her. I’m no stranger to this phenomenon.It’s been happening to me since MY own first day of kindergarten. I didn’t think I’d be this nervous before my babies started school. I guess it’s better me than them. Ella woke up this morning excited and ready to hit the ground running. I’m so proud of her. This is her third school in three years.
This morning was slightly reminiscent of last year’s first day. But this year my little girl was more excited and less nervous. I watched her jump out of bed and her eyes were smiling. She woke up her sister and headed to the kitchen for the annual first day of school breakfast; this years was pancakes, bacon, fruit and milk. Gotta feed that little brain. I watched her flit around like a little caterpillar turning into a butterfly before my very eyes. It really is quite hard to actually see the letting go happen.
She was dressed and ready to hit the road in record time this morning. I was glad. I was afraid she was going to be overcome with trepidation being in a new school, in a new city with new kids and no one she knows. But we were sure to take her to the school a couple times over the summer and she met her teacher last week. She knew where her desk, hook and mailbox would be before she ever got to school this morning. I explained the lunch line and pick up. She knew she was going to be the first Star of the Week VIP, we spent the weekend working on her VIP poster board for class. She seemed fine. I was the nervous one.
Then we drove to school, after taking my usual 100 photos or so of her getting ready for her first day of school. I reminded her that I put lunch money in her pocket, in case there was a mix up with her lunch account. I reminded her that she was having grapes in her lunch today and that she needed to take little bites and not talk while eating ( *Laugh if you will at my helicoptering but this is the same child who I was almost robbed of by a raisin). I reminded her to raise her hand when they took a head count for lunch (this is her first year of all day school). Then we rode in silence.
As we walked into the school, I had to pass the Kindergarten Mom’s. They were all melting into their pools of snot and tears in the hallway. Oh how I remember that moment, it was just last year. It will be me again next year. It hurt my heart a bit. I knew in moments, my own hurt was coming down like a hammer. We walked her into her classroom. As I handed her the backpack and pointed her in the direction of her hook, I could see the trepidation rearing its head again. I know that look. It’s a mix of glazed over and about to cry. But she never does. My girl is a suck it up kind of girl. She is the bravest kid I know (until it comes to shots but that’s an entirely different post). She asked me to walk her to her desk, of course, I obliged. The Big Guy was already busy setting all of her supply list items on her desk and unveiling that Star of the Week poster that tells her story. Abbi was running amuck checking out all the other kids to make sure it was safe to leave her big sister. She doesn’t leave her sister with just anyone.
I was in my head. She was in hers. Her eyes were glassy. My eyes were glassy. She knew I would ONLY leave her in capable hands. She sucked it up and gave me her nervous smile. I gave her a thousand and one kisses and told her to have a great day. I told her that I was so excited for her and proud of her. The Big Guy gave her a goodbye kiss and exited left. Her little sister hugged her like she was going off to war and kissed her cheek harder than I thought possible. I watched before giving her one last kiss and hug and fleeing before I could begin to cry.I told her I loved her. She told me that she did too.The commotion was growing. I swallowed the lump in my throat and told her goodbye.She smiled her nervous, toothless smile. It took all my will, I walked away. As I exited the room, I looked back and saw that same first day familiar nervous look. It broke my heart. It always breaks my heart. Leaving her, has always and will probably always break my heart into a million tiny pieces. The letting go is the hardest part of growing up.
It’s time to focus on the fact that my youngest starts preschool in 3 weeks. Oh what a blubbering mess I will be on that day. For now, I will fixate on those damn grapes and count the minutes til pick up time. Once she tells me that she had a wonderful day and I know that she survived the grapes at lunch. I will be exponentially happier. But right now, this very moment, my heart still hurts from….