So when the alarm sounded at 5:50am I knew if was going to get up and work out, it was either now or never. The last thing I wanted to do was start the year off on the wrong foot, so I did it. I jumped out of bed and started gathering my workout clothes in the dark. Still a little groggy I was slightly confused when I suddenly came face to face with my 5 year old in the pitch dark blackness of my room.
Hi mom. I made my bed, did my chore and I'm all dressed! She whispered excitedly at 5:58 on the dot.
Bless her little heart. I don't think she's even woken up that early on Christmas morning. Oh that one... I'm smiling just thinking about that moment all over again. I started to tell her it was a little bit early, and then I stopped myself, said Good job! and gave her a hug. I sent her out to watch TV while I exercised. Shortly after I was done little sister got up and the day was started.
We did ponytails and I found the right piece of ribbon to put in her hair. I kinda can't believe this, but this is the first time she's ever had ribbons tied in her hair. We do barrettes and pre-made hair bows... but no ribbon. To be honest, I've always been a fan of scraggly, ragga-muffin hair on little kids. (Shrug) So OK...ribbons. I like it. And suddenly without really meaning to she was matching her hair bows, her shoes and her back-pack. I'm a fan of accidental perfection.
Before we could head out the door I went to my jewelry box looking for a little something she could wear that belonged to mom just in case she needed something to touch, that tangible reassurance, that mom was never too far away. At first I found a bracelet, but it was too big. Then I found the perfect thing--my favorite beaded necklace from middle school given to me by my best friend from way back when. She smiled and nodded in approval.
And then we did the walk...you know, to school. Cuz we do that now. And we walked into the cafeteria where the kids were to be dropped off and with parents lining the walls, taking pictures, standing by to make sure all was well. And without a moments hesitation PSP took a seat with her class and even though she already had breakfast, she started eating the breakfast that is provided to all students for free. She only nibbled, but still she was excited to eat breakfast in the cafeteria of her new school. And I stood by and watched and took some pictures. It was at this point that it hit me. And my eyes started to well up a little as I looked at my big girl who still seems so very small. I didn't let any actual tears fall, but I felt the pang in my heart and that was enough. She's really growing up, this is really happening, I thought. And I realized I was going to be doing a lot more of this standing-back-and-watching thing. Ouch.
And then something kinda magical happened.
Lamp and I started making our way to the door, when the vice principal (I think?) who had been up front the whole time with a microphone talking to the kids, helping them know what to do and where to go, suddenly got everyone's attention and asked all the kids to stand up. It was time for morning announcements and for the pledge of allegiance. He asked them to place their hands over their hearts, and then he asked if there was anyone who knew the pledge of allegiance. I saw my girls hand shoot up. The vice principal pointed at her and asked her to come up. He handed her the microphone and asked her to lead everyone in the pledge of allegiance. I kid you not. I raced to get my camera back out and started snapping pictures like crazy.
As clear as a bell, with a calm, steady voice she led a cafeteria full of new Kindergartners, their parents and teachers in the pledge of allegiance.
THAT'S MY GIRL!
Are you kidding me? What a great moment. What memorable way to start off your entire school career. I was beaming and frankly just thrilled for her to have this little moment in the spotlight that helped make her day feel that much more special. She smiled her modest smile that said I'm pleased with myself but not showing off, and walked away.
Homegirl OWNED it.
Magic moment #2 came when I realized I forgot her lunch! When I approached her teacher about bringing it later she said, You're welcome to come and eat lunch with her today. Mercy. While I knew she'd be OK either way, it was definitely a nice unexpected treat for both of us. Because really, all along my biggest heartache has never been about separation anxiety, her fear of school or missing mommy. I knew she'd be OK with those things. The hardest thing for me to grasp and get used to is simply having my daughter gone for 7 hours of the day, every day. Thats a long time. And so to have this little lunch date in the middle of the day was a nice way to break us into these long school days.
She wasn't too chatty, still taking it all in, but she was glad to have us there. And I was glad to be there.
Truth be told it wasn't a perfect day. She hadn't been picked as a kid who showed super awesome exemplary behavior--a little positive reinforcement system they do--and her teacher had given that honor to 6 other kids. Of course the mama bear in me wants to call her teacher on it because, hello...did you not see her stand in front of the entire cafeteria on her first day of school and rock out the pledge of allegiance like it was the Paradise City to her Axel Rose? But whatever. That's part of it all...not getting the recognition you probably deserve. Welcome to school, and for that matter life kid. I could tell it was a little blow to her first day excitement, but she didn't waver in her proclamation that yes, it had been a good day and for that I was pleased. As expected she came home tired and a little grumpy. But when I asked for a post-school picture this is what she gave me:
It doesn't get any better than that.