Tuesday, August 23, 2011

First Day Of School

Last Thursday evening, our family packed up 6 bags of school supplies and went to Meet The Teachers Night at our school.

School supplies for 4 children, bagged and ready to go
(The 7th bag is for Jonah's Pre-K/Mother's Day Out program that he'll start in September)

Apparently Texas does not provide school supplies.  On the upside, they do provide amazing teachers, so...I suppose that is more important.  Frustrating though.

Yesterday morning, Greg was able to report a few hours late to work in honor of the 1st day of school.  When we woke the children, we discovered that they each had their own excited expectations/anxiety about their first day in each new grade.

1st day of school

Greg settled the boys in their classes while Jonah and I walked Lavella in to her class (her First Day Of School Ever).  Once I'd gotten her set and choked back my tears as I said goodbye, I went down the hall to kiss each of the boys.  They were both happily and peacefully coloring at their desks.  No more thunderclouds for Andrew.  

For a late breakfast, Jonah and I met up with two of my best friends at Chick-Fil-A with their toddlers, and we spent the morning visiting (mostly) un-interrupted while the children played in the playroom.  So peaceful.  By the time we went food shopping and got back home, it was his naptime.  I made Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (our family favorite recipe) for our traditional First Day After School Celebration Snack.  I am not ashamed to say that I spent a good 10 minutes of bliss, all by myself with the cookie bowl, making sure it was clean before I put it in the sink.  Oh yeah baby, I'm livin' large!

On the first day of school I always feel peace/sorrow/loss/excitement/guilt/relief....and then they are home again.  Before my afternoon had barely begun, Lavella's school bus rolled up to the house....

Daisy's bus bringing her home

Daisy getting off the bus after her 1st day of Pre-School
And when I scooped her off the step, I hugged her like I would never let go and tried not to cry all over again.

We ate cookies together and I listened to her talk all about her day...her new friends...her beautiful teacher...her new class songs...
Daisy eating Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
And for one precious hour, while Jonah napped and the boys were still at school, it was just she and I.  There is no way that I can ever feel prepared for that first day (for each of my children).  There is no way that I could have spent enough time with her, had enough silly little conversations, played dress-up enough, painted our nails enough...there is no such thing as enough.  But then that day comes, and my little baby walks out of my house and into the great big halls of SCHOOL...and I let them go.  Yesterday, I let her go.

I heard this poem on the radio yesterday morning, and it speaks directly to how I feel.  If you don't want to cry, don't read it.  Just sayin'.

I Trust You'll Treat Her Well
By Victor Buono

Dear World:
I bequeath to you today one little girl...in a crispy dress...with two brown eyes...and a happy laugh that ripples all day long.. and a flash of light brown hair that bounces in the sun when she runs.
I trust you'll treat her well.

She's slipping out of the backyard of my heart this morning...and skipping off down the street to her first day of school. And never again will she be completely mine.
Prim and proud she'll wave her young and independent hand this morning and say "Goodbye" and walk with little lady steps to the schoolhouse.

Now she'll learn to stand in lines...and wait by the alphabet for her name to be called. She'll learn to tune her ears for the sounds of school-bells...and deadlines...and she'll learn to giggle...and gossip...and look at the ceiling in a disinterested way when the little boy 'cross the aisle sticks out his tongue at her. And now she'll learn to be jealous. And now she'll learn how it is to feel hurt inside. And now she'll learn how not to cry.

No longer will she have time to sit on the front porch on a summer day and watch an ant scurry across the crack in the sidewalk. Nor will she have time to pop out of bed with the dawn and kiss lilac blooms in the morning dew. No, now she'll worry about those important things...like grades and which dress to wear and whose best friends is whose. And the magic of books and learning will replace the magic of her blocks and dolls. And now she'll find new heroes.

For five full years now I've been her sage and Santa Claus and pal and playmate and mother and friend. Now she'll learn to share her worship with her teachers ...which is only right. But no longer will I be the smartest woman in the whole world. Today when that school bell rings for the first time...she'll learn what it means to be a member of the group...with all its privileges and its disadvantages too.

She'll learn in time that proper young ladies do not laugh out loud...or kiss dogs...or keep frogs in pickle jars in bedrooms...or even watch ants scurry across cracks in sidewalks in the summer.
Today she'll learn for the first time that all who smile at her are not her friends. And I'll stand on the front porch and watch her start out on the long, lonely journey to becoming a woman.
So, world, I bequeath to you today one little girl...in a crispy dress...with two brown eyes...and a flash of light brown hair that bounces in the sunlight when she runs.

I trust you'll treat her well.


noelle said...

Thanks for posting this. Silas starts school in two weeks. I cry when I think about it.

MaryAnn Richardson said...

We love her and wish her much happiness!!
Aunt MaryAnn & Uncle Bob

Rebekah Hoover said...

We saved money homeschooling. I think it cost us more to buy all those freakn' supplies for school than it did to buy the kids school books and their own supplies!! Is Lavella in Kindergarten already?!?

Faith D. said...

No, she's in Pre-K, but it's an all-day program, 5 days a week that the public school has for families that meet certain criteria (in our case, military). :-)
Sent from my Verizon Wireless mobile phone

Jrsivers said...

LOVE that poem.  I may need to borrow it sometime.  My kiddos are heading to school for the first time this year after being homeschooled.  I'm so nervous!!!