The First Day of School

A three-year old, barely weighing 30 pounds soaking wet, leaves a black hole of empty in her wake.  She leaves droppings that my emotions stumble over and pick up her scent afresh: the night light still glowing after a hurried morning, a water bottle waiting at hand’s reach near the couch, a purple blanket still tented where her legs warmed, a pillow with a head dent.

This school departure to a three-mornings-a-week preschool wrenches my heart.  I know I’m a big baby when it comes to letting my baby go.  I know this separation pales in comparison to future wrenches: kindergarten, high school, {gulp} college.  Let’s just say I’m practicing today for the big leagues.

This morning I bid adieu to summer mornings of lazy breakfasts, PJs at 10 am, and Little Friend.

Her excitement is deceiving.  We doused the preschool door with some tears.  There was some mama static cling.  She physically clung to me as I peeled away, and my heart clung to her through the black hole of her absence for the two and a half hours she was away.

Part of my sorrow over today is being the one left behind to turn off night lights, fold blankets, and carry water bottles to the too-quiet kitchen.  I miss the excitement of first days of school–of greeting new students who will be my year’s inspiration, of hearing the squeak of shoes on freshly waxed floors, of hearing the staccato crashes of locker doors.  There’s such energy, drive, expectation, and a smudge of trepidation at the beginning of the school year.  It’s easy to become addicted to the promise of learning.

Knowing that Little Friend will love that world of learning is the only thing that allows me to peel her off and toss her in the preschool teacher’s arms for safe-keeping.

This is our second First Day of School experience.  You’d think I’d be a bit more prepared for the emotional wrench.

Those of you moms who have survived the gauntlet of first days of school that stretch ahead of me, please, please, please, give me your survival tips!  I need them and a big box of Kleenex if I’m going to make it through the next few decades of First Days.

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  1. Nancy Taylor said:

    You make it one Kleenex and one year at a time. Share her joys and fears when she comes home. Notice the beautiful wings she is developing and how they depend on her strong roots. It’s okay to imagine and look forward to your next first day of teaching as you hold onto the bittersweet ness of today.

    September 4, 2012
  2. Jennifer Balet said:

    Love what you have created!!!!

    September 4, 2012
  3. Kelly said:

    I too, get thru each first day by remembering what excitement lies ahead at school, and holding the tears until they leave. I sent my baby to first grade this year. And my oldest is nearly as tall as me. Spend every moment you can find enjoying her beautiful innocence. Childhood is just too brief. I love reading your snapshots of your journeys.

    September 4, 2012
  4. Jo said:

    Oh my goodness! Look how EB has grown! What a special girl.

    September 4, 2012
  5. susan said:

    I got through all those 1st days by having an appointment for a haircut, facial, and/or pedi. It works wonders to keep you distracted. Coffee with a girlfriend ranks a close second.

    September 5, 2012

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