The day finally came. Our girls entered the first of 13 years in the public school system. It’s a day that many of us parents look forward to and kinda think of it as the next biggest milestone in their kids’ lives. We’re no different. Funny but I didn’t experience that pang of sadness that they’ve crossed some kind of invisible threshold. Perhaps it’s because they’ve been in a full-time preschool/pre-K program for the last couple of years. Perhaps it’s because they will be together in the same classroom for one more year. Whatever the reason, I wasn’t nervous about their start to this important phase of their lives or even a little sad. I was excited, though not nearly as excited as our girls.
Storyteller woke up at 4am. Songwriter got up at 5am. Jet lag? Yup…but I think the anticipation of this first day in Kindergarten helped wipe out any remaining drowsiness they would have normally felt at that time in the morning. Songwriter insisted on her newest clothing acquisitions. Storyteller couldn’t care less. In fact, I insisted that she put on a new outfit because I was going to take photos. She acquiesced.
They were both up, dressed and ready to go at 5:30am. Their afternoon Kindergarten session started at 11:30am. We had a few hours to kill. Chomping at the bit – a most apt description for their mood that morning before school. When we finally got ready to get in the car, Songwriter was full of nervous energy, “Mommy, I’m scared.” I of course, told her it would be fine and fun.
(As an aside, we chose the afternoon session for the girls to give ourselves a year’s reprieve. The morning session starts at 8:05 AM! Preschool and pre-K for the last couple of years started at 9:00am – and we barely got there on time. Knowing how mornings and Truls simply do not mix (unless of course a fresh layer of powder is awaiting him on the closest ski slopes or the winds are blowing and the waves are calling him to windsurf), I would be on dropoff and pickup duty every [school] day for the next year. So, a later start time combined with a before/after school extended care program seemed the best alternative for Kindergarten.)
Papparazzi parents. That was the scene outside the classroom. Perhaps not with all the jostling one might expect but certainly cameras and videocameras dominated the scene. The girls made their first friend from class in the school office and they walked to the classroom together. After a brief climb up the play structure, the girls joined the rest of their new classmates in line. I think the teachers were quite used to the spectacle. One even announced, “OK, last chance for pictures,” before leading the kids into the room. Even as the door closed, we all waited around and watched through the window for a few minutes.
I picked up Storyteller and Songwriter at the end of the afternoon session and two thrilled little girls greeted me. Success. This year is going to be just fine.