"I'm a little bit nervous, Mom."
As I'm driving towards the school I keep glancing back in my rearview mirror trying to capture this moment to tuck away inside my memory. Her first day of school, first day of Kindergarten. We read some books the night before about what kindergarten was going to be like, we've read them through the whole summer preparing her but more importantly preparing me to let her go.
"Do you have any questions about school?"
"Are you feeling scared or nervous about anything?"
"When I was five, I loved school and I know you will too. You will learn so many new things and make so many friends."
"I know, Mom."
I tucked her in that night and I was filled with so many different and conflicting emotions. It had been difficult to stay excited about the start of school due to the Tropical storm that cancelled the first 2 days. I had such anticipation up until then and then we were left wondering would we have school today? Would the flooding recede? Would I survive letting her go?
All summer long she had been asking me when kindergarten was going to start. She was so ready. I was not. I figure it's our jobs as parents to keep letting them go one piece at a time. When they are ready for that, it means your have succeeded, however heavy it makes your heart.
My fears are rooted in the unknown. My school age years were spent in the cozy cover of private school. I only had not so pleasant experiences with "public school" kids. Prayer has eased so many of my worries, God certainly has a plan. I keep running the same thoughts through my head, "Be anxious for nothing." He knows the numbers of hairs on my child's head, He walks beside her and holds her hand when I am not there. Her classroom theme is frogs because her teacher loves frogs. I learn later that to her teacher the frog is a symbol to "Fully Rely On God." I find comfort and relief from my worries. God is so good to put this teacher in her life...His plan is perfect.
She hands me the doodle pad that she's been drawing on in the back of the car on the way to school. It's only about a 7 minute drive but she has managed to trace her hand and draw a heart next to it,
"Here Mom. Here is my hand so you can remember how big I am right now and you can look at this when you miss me while I'm at school. And I drew a heart next to the hand so you know that I love you."
She walks in the classroom and with her is my heart beating with her steps away from me. I remember, "Making the decision to have a child - it's momentous. it is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body" and never have I felt it more true than that moment. She finds her name-tag. Her teacher is wearing a frog costume. Parents are buzzing around taking pictures, comforting tears, easing fears. She is not afraid, I am not needed, I've done my job.
I wonder what she's doing at different times during the day. i made sure to fill that first day with many errands, a doctor's appointment, a playdate...so that I wouldn't have time to give into my sadness about my little one growing up in what literally seems like a blink of an eye. Finley asks me numerous times during the day when it will be time to pick Piper up from school? She has suddenly lost her best playmate, her best friend.
She gets in the car in a flurry, the look on her face of a bit of confusion, fatigue, but mostly joy.
"Piper! Piper! Look at me back here. Look at me Piper!"
"What is it, Finley?"
"Did you like your first day of school?"
"It was good."
"Did you make any new friends?"
"I missed you, Piper."
"I missed you too, Finley."
We make it home eventually and settle in together playing and talking and laughing. It is a new season in our family. She loves school and I am so relieved and I pack her lunch that night and slip in a note, "I love you."