No Lack of Enthusiasm
I woke up to a foggy morning, with my five year old wedged between me and the hubs, both of them breathing deeply. I lay quietly, appreciating the mirrored lines of my husband and daughter's faces and watching the gray light slowly turn golden.
Nine days ago, I packed three lunches and headed out the door into a foggy morning just like this one, walking all three of my children to elementary school for the first time. My husband walked with us, and the kids took turns racing ahead and dropping back, bubbling over with excitement about the coming year.
The older two were buzzing with speculation on which friends they would see first, and where they would sit in class. My youngest? We had a hard time keeping up with her to hear what her thoughts were.
As we made our final approach to the school, all three kids tried to shake the parentals.
"Mom, I KNOW where my classroom is."
"Dad, I've got it from here. THANKS."
Even my youngest tried to lose us as we wended our way through the throngs. She figured her brother could escort her just fine.
I don't know about the rest of the people there, but seeing that giant backpack on my tiny daughter made me tear up, just a little bit. I know how fast it goes. I know that by the last day of school in May, that backpack won't seem so gigantic, and she will be profoundly different, in marvelous ways.
We managed to escort Miss Independent to her classroom, and after helping her find her name tag and put her backpack away, she kissed us firmly and shooed us away. We lingered for a moment outside the classroom, and then, holding hands, went to peek into the classrooms of the older two kids.
After a few minutes, we turned to walk home. By that point, the fog had completely lifted and the day was promising to be sunny and warm. We navigated the quiet neighborhoods, and when we reached our driveway, the hubs gave me a quick peck on the cheek, and he was off to work.
I went inside and made a cup of coffee before logging back into my work email. I meant to celebrate in some small way, but those precious hours were gone in a blink.
At the end of that first day, I picked up my kids who all talked at once, eager to share their first day experience with me. They all love their teachers, they have good friends in their classes, they are excited about the new school year.
I can't express what a relief it is to have the kids excited about their classes. My oldest, the fourth grader, is in a fourth-fifth combination class, with an enthusiastic teacher who is letting the kids get a class pet. I cannot tell you how many hours I've been treated to discussions of the merits of Teddy Bear hamsters versus regular hamsters and possible names and requests to go purchase chew toys for the yet to arrive class hamster. This kid of mine is beyond excited and is already planning ahead to our weekend at home with the class hamster. She hopes it will be for an extended weekend! Maybe over the winter holidays!
My son has already made a few new buddies in his class, and is eagerly planning his 8th birthday class treat. It involves Pokemon and lots of sugar. I apologize to both his teacher and the parents of the other kids in advance.
My youngest comes home singing every day, wielding crafts and doing the chicken dance. She's totally in her element, and I'm so grateful that her adjustment to a full day of school has been smooth.
As for me - I'm adjusting to my newly empty nest in stages. It is a shock to the system to have uninterrupted hours, and I've yet to find a new rhythm to my day that will allow me to accomplish all that I need to during the school day. The return to a scheduled day has me mentally chipper, but my long hours and little sleep over the last few weeks have made my feet sluggish.
Slowly, slowly, we're adjusting. The kids come home wired but wiped out. We fall in bed exhausted after our newly busy days, and wake up reluctantly. But now, nine days into it, my body is catching up to what my mind had already embraced.
As I lay in bed this morning, watching the spreading sunlight climb the window frame, I felt a little bit of peace enter me. The fog is lifting, and a beautiful new day is here.
We're off to the swimming pool to celebrate The Removal of the Stitches. I'm in the mood to play.