So I'm past the first day of school. I've been dreading that day for five and a half years, since Sassy was born, and suddenly it's come and gone. I've written previously on other first days, but for some reason this day, the first day of kindergarten for my youngest child, the last first day, if you will, was particularly hard.
Rather than sharing my thoughts on the first day of school, which could be summed up in three words: tearful, exciting, and tearful, I stopped this morning to consider: The Second Day of School.
Because it's all over at that point, isn't it? There will never again, at least in this academic year, be another First Day of School. Now it's just...school. Routine. The day to day. The Nitty Gritty.
I was out last night at bedtime and upon returning, asked John how the kids did while I was out. First day of school excitement and all.
"Well," he said, "Sassy gave me this big sigh at bedtime and said, 'Dad, I really have to go to bed now, I've had a long day. I had school this morning, then I played, then I ate dinner, and I have a lot of work to do tomorrow.'" Already embracing the routine of life, that one.
But what about us? The ones who are Left Behind. (Apologies if this is starting to sound like some Armageddon-laced diatribe. I'm going in a different direction here, I promise.) When Big B was a wee bebe, I struggled emotionally with leaving him at day care, as did nearly every new mom I've ever met. I think it took me two or three weeks to not cry on the way to work after dropping him off every day. And my heart tore a little bit when I realized he finally just...got used to it. I didn't want him to get used to it, at least on the inside. I wanted to know that somewhere, in his four-month-old (obv brilliant, this is my son we're talking about) brain, he knew that this day care gig wasn't so bad, but that he really would rather be home with me, playing, taking walks, and being silly. I wanted him to tell me that. To reassure me, 'of course, Mother, this place is safe and warm and they take good care of me, but it's just not as good as being home with you, because that really is the best.' He was happy and content when I dropped him off every day, and although that made it easier on me, somewhere deep inside I craved the satisfaction of knowing he hated it too.
My children love school, and for that I am so, so thankful. We have an unbelievable public educational system in our town, so add another point to the thankfulness scoreboard. I believe it is a safe learning environment in which the teachers and staff are committed to giving my children the best education municipal tax money can buy. My two clambered onto the bus today with bursting enthusiasm and smiles, not looking back, not crying (therefore not ripping my still-beating heart right out of my chest for which I am truly thankful).
I just like to think, in some corner of their brains, behind the letters and numbers and geography and new friends and snacktime, that they're missing me. Just a little bit.
And that they never get too used to it.