Monday, August 30, 2010

there she goes.

The day after Skyler was born, I was lying in the hospital bed holding her, all bundled up in a white fleece sleeper, while Sam was taking a load of our stuff down to the car.

I had the radio on, and this song was playing. I started to cry, and when one of the nurses came in and asked me what was wrong, I said that I was listening to this song and imagining my baby going to Kindergarten. If you want the full effect of this post, you can play the song while you read.

Yes, Skyler has gone to school for two years, but tomorrow she starts Kindergarten at the big public school, and it feels really different. There are hundreds of kids, a big playground, a cafeteria, a gym. All of her good friends ended up with a different teacher, so she knows that she is going to have to be a big, brave girl tomorrow. I'm really excited for her, but accounting for the fact that she has gotten more sensitive about goodbyes over the past year, and that she does not easily separate from me, tomorrow might be a bit rough.

She's 5, almost 6.  She's brave and sassy, and scared and shy.  She's right on the cusp of big-kid, illustrated by the thoughtful and articulate conversations we have. And yet, she still carries around a stuffed animal and cries when I leave her at bedtime.

Tonight we went to the Kindergarten orientation and the all-school barbecue.

Heading in to her new school, she held tightly to her family,

and to her best friend Ella.

Part of the program involved the kids going for a practice bus ride and Suzanne and I were so proud that our girls got right in line together.  But does this photo just not say it all?  Skyler's back still fresh with summer's tan lines, Ella looking back for one more quick connection to her mom. 

I know that every mom says this, but it actually was just yesterday that Skyler and Ella were both tucked in infant car seats batting at rattles. 

When the buses came back from their ride, I just about died when I looked up at all the huge eyes just barely able to see out the window, scanning the crowd for the right mom or dad.

That's my girl.  This expressions says to me:  "I want to love this. I'm trying to love this."

Next we were invited to walk to the classrooms to meet their teachers.  I hadn't met her teacher and hadn't heard much about her before tonight, so I was nervous.  All that I wanted was for the following scene to occur:  When Skyler met her new teacher, I wanted that teacher to get down on her level, look her warmly in the eye, and to say hello in a voice that was both gentle and energetic.  I knew that if the intro went well, we'd have a better chance at a good first day.

When we walked in, I actually and literally had my fingers crossed.  Skyler was the second one in the room.  It was bright, cheerful, organized, and full of books and great stuff.  Skyler walked up to her teacher and I held my breath.

She put her hands on her knees, bent down low to make eye contact with Skyler, and asked her name:  "Skyler!  What a beautiful name!  It is so nice to meet you!  I can't wait for tomorrow, can you?"  Skyler's eyes sparkled.  Yes.  I wiped my tears while Skyler checked out her name tag neatly placed on one of the tables.

Backpack is packed, lunch packed, pencil box organized, outfit laid out.  Good grief:  I've been so emotional this week, I was even convinced to buy the princess sandwich container.
And if all this isn't enough to undo me, look what her teacher gave all the parents tonight.

Tomorrow I'll be armed with my camera and some tissues, and because I'll be doing this next to Sandi and Suzanne, I know I won't be the only weepy one in the parking lot.  Wish us luck!


Kim said...

Oh, Emilie. I so remember those days like it was yesterday and my girls are 28 and 24. And yes, my oldest still takes her little "fuzzy" everywhere she goes. She even took it on her honeymoon! Your writing brings me to tears. I am so glad the teacher got down to her level and made your heart swell. I know how important that is. This excites me for Wednesday-my first student day! My room is ready-I just need to fill it with kids. Thanks for sharing this special moment.

Leigh Marotta said...

I didn't heed your warning on Facebook and now I am bawling, thinking of my little Vincent starting Kindergarten next week. I still get teary eyed every first day of school even with my oldest and she will be starting in 5th grade this year. Skylar will do great! Hugs for tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

my lucy starts kindergarten next week and i of course am balling, your an amazing woman, your kids are so lucky to have you as their mom.

p.s. i think you do more in a day than i do in a week.

love you, ginger

Natalie said...

I don't even HAVE kids and I'm in tears. Big, fat ones. Be brave!

Sarah said...

I am one of the no-comment lurkers you hear about but I had to comment on this because it is not even seven a.m. and I am sitting watching my 9 month old play with an empty tea container and crying about his first day of kindegarten. It was the picture and "I want to like this. I am trying to like this." that broke my heart. So sweet. Good luck today!

Jennifer said...

YOU are an amazing woman Emilie, and an even more amazing mom. Love you.

Anonymous said...

I am another lurker.. my daughter Ayla will be starting kindergarten next year. I'm at work now, in tears, thinking about her first day. What a sweet note her teacher wrote to all the parents.. and the penmanship, just perfect. :) Good luck to Skylar today AND to you!

Elizabeth said...

OK, You got me with that post. Need I tell you that it took me back, in tears, to your first day of kindergarten--AND to the day we left you at college. I hate to tell you, but it doesn't get easier. Having spent a few hours with Skyler yesterday, I know her excitement was somewhat tempered by apprehension. I loved it that she was clutching the little white mouse in the photo. I am waiting with baited breath for an account of the drop-off.

Maureen said...

I've been reading for sometime now but have never commented. What an amazing post. It's not even 9am, my two year old daughter is happily playing at daycare and I'm sitting at my desk at work in tears thinking of how it will feel for her father and I to see her off to school in a few short years.

On a side note, I want you to know how much I love your blog, your writing style, your photos and stories. It's one of my favorites to read!

Danielle Frottier said...

good luck, Emilie and Skyler! I loved this post. The photo of Skyler holding her stuffed animal with that expression of "what have I gotten myself into" is priceless. She is a brave, sassy, and precocious little girl. And that note from the teacher! Wow! that is wonderful

Tiercy said...

Okay, coz...I hate this post! Said with total love. I am so DREADING doing this next year with my sweet daughter. Dreading is an understatement...

But, good luck to Skyler. She is so ready and will do great. well written post again. =)

SNW said...

skyler's face by the bus = the face i made 10 days ago in my new grad school student id, a couple hours after arriving to campus.. change is scary! hopefully her transition will go surprisingly smoooooth, like mine! ps. thinking of you a lot and your important rule: "no disclaimer" before workshopping a piece..

Anonymous said...

Didn't comment this morning because of the big, fat tears blurring things up. Seems just like yesterday... and no it doesn't get all that much easier!

My "baby" has flown off to grad school in Boulder ... surely a stronger & more self confident young woman because you were THAT kind of teacher for her when it was probably needed most. Thank you again!! SNW's mom ;)
She was my "worrier"

Anonymous said...

Oh are the best mom ever! So, now that I have stopped tearing up, I think I can type! You are so very fortunate to have a "kindergarten orientation & bbq", practice bus ride & meeting the teacher" night! WOW....can't imagine that back in my early years! I can't wait to read your next post! You are an awesome mom! xoxo

Helen said...

I know I am not the only one waiting eagerly to hear how the first day went. Eve's first day is next Tuesday and you described the enigma well-'brave and sassy, and scared and shy.' I guess we as moms have the same mixed feelings, right??
Keep us posted.

Kirsten said...

What a beautiful note from the teacher! Niklas's teacher is warm and welcoming but not the kind to write a note like that! I'm so happy for Skyler that she has some good friends at school already!

Oh and are you kidding me? I was convinced to buy a lunch box that looks like a Viking shield AND a Darth Vader action figure for the first day of school. Me, who has been pushing the non-violence for pre-8 year olds. Sigh.