Sunday, August 26, 2012

First Day of School part 1: Anxious

OK here's the deal.  It's getting late and I've written or re-written this post about 3 times now and I'm getting no where.  So I'm just going to simplify and get it out.

My daughter starts school tomorrow and I'm somewhere between wanting to cry my eyes out and jumping for joy.  And for me, the best word that describes that somewhere-in-the-middle feeling is anxious.  I feel anxious for her, anxious for me, anxious for this new life, anxious to say goodbye to the old life...just anxious.  I'm not yet comfortable and not yet settled.

Did I enjoy the time with her while I had it?  I wondered tonight while I was getting dinner ready.  The answer of course is no.   I was too busy being a mom.  First the sleeplessness and the adjustment to motherhood, then the teaching and molding, the feeding and diapering, the cleaning and the disciplining.  The bathing and laundering.  The yelling and apologizing and regretting.  And the just plain surviving.

But the other part of my answer is Yes.  Emphatically yes!  Over the past 5 years how many times have I looked at that beautiful child and uttered a prayer of gratitude that she was sent to me?  Hundreds, at least.  We've had walks--walks to the park, walks in the zoo, walks around the neighborhood, walks to get the mail.  Cuddles and cuddles and even more cuddles.  Dancing and singing and playing Candyland or Uno.  Dress ups and playdates and tea parties.  I've looked into her eyes and told her that I love her more than she'll ever know and I've watched her from a distance with a smile across my face and pure love beating through my veins.  

It's all there.  The monotony and struggle are part of the joy.  You have to have both.     

So tonight we had our special back-to-school dinner and the theme I chose was Kindness Begins With Me.  Something I want to emphasize to my first daughter going to school for the first time.  The popularity game seems to be starting younger and younger and if there's anything I regret from my youth it's that I cared a too much about being cool and not enough about being kind.

It wasn't over the top or anything just some streamers, a banner I've had for years, some matchy straws and some special treats.  And we talked about being kind and about lots of other things too. 

S'more anyone?

After dinner was probably my favorite part.  Her dad gave her a father's blessing.  And after her blessing was over, Lamp said I want a blessing too, so she got one too.  I still have the image of my girls in my mind with their fathers hands placed on their heads and their beautiful faces bowing with closed eyes, knowing that this was a special and reverent occasion.  It was beautiful and sweet.  And if there's anything that can calm my anxious soul, it's even better.  (If you're not familiar with this practice you can read more about it here.  While by no means mandatory, it's typical for an LDS father to give his children a blessing before the beginning of a new school year, among other times.)

After dinner and clean up, we went through the school supplies, writing her name on everything and laying out her school outfit (nothing too exciting...uniforms...I have mixed feelings on that).

Then reading, brushing teeth and tucking into bed...with a few extra snuggles.

If this picture is any indication, she'll be fine.
I know she'll thrive.  And I know I'll miss will her little sister.

Tears or no tears's too early to say.
But you can bet your bottom dollar I'll be praying my little heart out.


  1. Your very last line made me cry. I remember the day my first started school. This post explained my emotions perfectly.
    I hope you let us know how it all goes for you.

  2. It is so hard to part with our little ones. My oldest started school and never looked back at me and her little brother. She was on her own and loving it. Now my third one was the opposite. Then along came a granddaughter that I had cared for since birth. She was screaming for me. My son told me to leave the building, hah. It keeps on going on....such a heart breaking moment but then it gets to be alot of fun.

  3. She will be fine..and you know will you!! I remember those feelings all too well..and will go through them again when my daughter heads off to 2nd grade next week. The first few days (even the week) is tough, but it gets soon as she comes home with her first school art project and is so excited to show it to will melt.

  4. I have a 13 year old and I still pray my heart out all day for all of my kids. And the father's blessing is my favorite part too.

  5. Linda P.2:32 PM

    At the first, you said you had trouble writing this post, but I think you said everything beautifully. : ) I hope you and Lamp get through the day and get some great one-on-one time together! Then when PSP gets home, I bet she will be full of fun stories and all sorts of news. Please let us know how her first day went!

  6. Anonymous4:14 PM

    Good luck to all of you.
    I did not cry at drop off as we all went with our new K student. I cried in car line at pick up when I got close enough to see her sitting outside with all the other kids anxiously looking for my car. She was fine, more then fine. She was exited and ready to go back. My baby is 1,5 and misses her terribly every day. When she gets in the car he wants to hold her hand immediately.

  7. What a beautiful theme for a back-to-school celebration. I'm a teacher and I love it. I'm sure she'll be fine...more than fine.

  8. I hope PSP has a wonderful first day. What a beautiful thing you have taught her about kindness <3 I will pray that she loves it!

  9. I am sitting here reading this with tears running down MY face. You so beautifully captured that feeling of anxiety and my daughter is 17 months old! HA! From the looks of things, she did have a good day, and what a proud moment that she knew the pledge too eh? Your family makes me smile, and I love and appreciate the effort you put in to blog about it, because I love to read about it!