Life is absurd. And life is precious. Family is a lot of both.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Last First Day

People sometimes assume that if you have more than one child nothing is ever quite as hard as the first time around. Sleep deprivation, potty training, taking off the training wheels, the birds and bees talk, etc. Right? Wrong.  Some things are hard no matter how much practice we get.

One of the hardest is the first day of school. And I don’t mean for those precious kindergarteners. I only thought it was hard to send my baby off for a whole day with new friends and unknown teachers. After a tearful good-bye (sometimes by both of us, often just by me) I usually spent that whole first day worried about what new problems they were facing, how they would handle finding buddies, and whether or not they could get their backpacks unzipped all by themselves.

Then, before I knew it, they were home with stories and songs and smiles. And another first day of school was in the books.

What I discovered a few years ago is that really the hardest first day of school is when the baby walks out the door for the very last one. The Senior Year. At least I know enough this time to have my tissues ready. The first last first day took me by surprise.

In August of 2010, as our oldest child rushed to get into her car and drive away, I grabbed her in a bear hug to wish her a wonderful first day of school. As I spoke those words I realized I would never say that to her again. Wasn’t she just leaving for elementary school recently? How did this almost-grown person sneak in here? Wasn’t there something more important for me to say? Then…tears.

Coincidentally we also had kindergartener in 2010. I don’t remember as much about his first day. I do know it wasn’t he who rolled his eyes and told me to get a grip that morning. And I know my anxiety between 8 and 3 had little to do with his buddies or backpack.

Last first day
First first day
This year marks the last first day for our second born. It’s not any easier. It might, in fact, be harder since I know what’s in store.

So I will spend a little more time with her discussing what she should wear. I will pack her lunch with a little more thought and care. I will hug her a little longer that Thursday morning as I wish her a wonderful first day of school. I will try not to cry. Or to take it personally when she rolls her eyes and tells me to get a grip.

I will worry all day long about her classes and her friends and her future.

Then, before I know it, they will all be home with stories and songs and smiles. And another first day of school will be in the books.


  1. Ugh. I'm going to be a wreck. I sent my oldest to his first day of high school this year. I cried my eyes out when I dropped him off at the orientation, and I have been worried for him every day this week.
    I only have three more first days for him, and it breaks my heart. For me.
    She is a beautiful girl.