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First Day of School

If your child is starting school today, treasure that sweet goodbye, simple hug and kiss, and caputure the moment in a photo.  For what is today, will be history tomorrow.

It’s the night before the first day back at school, but for me it feels like a rarity.  My daughter is going into the 8th grade, so it’s not like we haven’t been through this before.  But actually we haven’t. Tomorrow will be the first time I can be there to take her to school and pick her up like a regular, stay at home Mom.  I feel like celebrating.  It has been our most leisurely night before school ever and I am relishing every minute of it.  And I think my daughter is clearly picking up on my lack of stress.

We know we won’t fall asleep at a decent time, so we’re not even trying.  Call me a slacker Mom, but why force sleep when it isn’t going to happen.  So this evening I announced that we’d have an ice cream party.  My daughter wanted to substitute the ice cream for Italian ice, so we went that way.

This may seem insignificant, but our life has been so rushed, filled with stress and deadlines.  But this year something is different.  I think that it may be my Dad’s passing that is somehow re-grounding me as a parent.  I am slowing down each day, and in some ways it is being thrust upon me to slow down.

  Right now I am not working.  All of the other years, since my daughter started preschool, I was teaching, so my classroom responsibilities naturally took precedence over my daughter’s first day of school attention.  I really think private schools should reconsider their policy on teacher attendance, and make the children of teacher’s a top priority, too. That would show a true dedication to all children, not just the tuition paying private school students. Of course, that would mean a great effort on the administration’s side and a deep understanding on the parent’s side, unless of course school started on a different day.

Tonight is only one night, but I have enjoyed it and so has my daughter. “Really , Mom, ice cream really late tonight?” Me: “Yes.” “Maybe we can bake something?”  Me:  Like Brownies? “NO, like a cake.  You know how I love to decorate cakes with sprinkles.” Me: ”Sure, honey, we could do that.” 

Two hours later, as we mill through Giant, my daughter cradling the Italian ices, asks me what is taking so long.  Simple, I was picking up the cake mix, frosting, and sprinkles.  Just like she wanted . . . after all, tomorrow is her day! But subconsciously I was trying to recapture the days of yesteryear, when I was so busy with my own classroom on the first day, that my daughter wasn’t getting the first day of school limelight. And now all the sprinkles in the world weren’t going to make those lost years any more reachable.

Our goodbye tomorrow will be far from the sweet, idyllic childhood goodbyes I know we missed.  It will probably include some teenage angst, mild embarrassment in my daughter’s mind of me being somehow associated with her.  But I don’t care.  Better late than never.  NOT REALLY. I will do my best to not embarrass her.  Somehow, though I will have to get a picture of her . . .

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