The first day of school came and went. I sent Nora off to Pre-K at a school that I’m kind of in love with. It’s Montessori-based and the fact that her days are spent exploring and the majority of it she’s outside (yes, rain…or shine) makes my heart happy. There will come a place and time for traditional public school, but for now…we’re right where we are supposed to be. I can see her eyes light up as she talks about the worms she held, the cicada she watched flap loudly, or the sensory table she played in full of sand and rice. I can feel her excitement when she points out the letter E on the side of a building and tells me how she talked about that letter in school. Don’t forget the joy she gets from discussing with me what the weather is like each morning on the 15 minute car ride to her school door where she’s greeted each morning by the ring of a little brass bell.
I suppose the endorphins got me through that first day. The lunch was packed (exactly what she requested – chicken salad, crackers, cottage cheese and some M&Ms). The clothes were laid out, we were set. I was fully anticipating the tears but when she ran to get in line without even looking back, the excitement took over. I put aside the worries all parents have (Will she be comfortable enough to ask for help? Will she be confident enough to stand up for herself? Heck…who is going to open up the ziploc bag in her lunch box?) and went about my day. No tears, no over-analyzing…just excitement.
We Made It! …or so I thought…
Then it came, and boy was I caught off guard.
Picture day. We bought a nice, new “spinny dress” from a big girl store (Forever 21 actually now carries very cute little girl clothes). She was ready. On the drive to school it hit me that once she’s in kindergarten, what I get is what I get when it comes to school photos. I won’t be there to ensure the silly smile, it will be up to her to look however she wants. I only have 2 years to actually witness her school pictures and this is one of them (thankful for a co-op school that allows and encourages parent involvement). Here I was, driving to school like every other Tuesday, only I couldn’t swallow the lump in my throat. The first school picture day. This made it really feel real. I snapped about 100 pictures on my phone of her playing that day, because I knew deep in my heart that this moment would be fleeting and I never want to forget how happy she was to put that dress on and smile as I yelled “Nora has stinky feet” over and over. I miss that day already, and it was just last week.
I look at her, daily, and wonder how she got so big. In the back of my mind I know one day I’ll hold those pictures and wonder if she really was EVER ACTUALLY that small. So the other night, I let her fall asleep in my arms. I watched her drift into dreamland and for a moment she was still my itty bitty baby. As for today, the excitement is back as we sent her off to another day of exploring the world around her!
In the spirit of the debacle that was the debate Sunday night, I’ll leave you with this…