On Anya’s first day of school, we arose two hours before school started. She ate breakfast and watched YouTube videos while I nursed Kai and sipped tea. Then together we dressed (she did so twice, as her first outfit choice was still a bit too big for her tiny waist), fixed our hair and put on makeup (just powder and a touch of lipstick for her), selected jewelry and shoes, and headed out the door with half an hour to spare. We only live three blocks from school – 30 minutes is plenty of time.
I had to park on the sidewalk because I couldn’t find a parking space.
Then, flustered from the stink-eye I was getting from other, more experienced moms, I forgot my phone – my surrogate brain – in the car, which meant I could not complete any of the required paperwork. The mom across from me had 7 kids at home (and more that have moved out); she whipped through the paperwork like a pro, which of course she is. I felt like the new kid all over again. Do you ever outgrow that?
Anya happily went to the playroom with the other kids when asked, but when I went to pick her up after orientation was over, she burst into tears. She’d been lonely and scared and the other kids were mean, and nobody told her where I was. (The room monitor said she’d been having a great time until I got there.) I carried my sobbing girl, who is more than half my height and going on half my weight, through the school and back to my car as if she were a toddler. I did not cry. But I felt like crying, for a dozen reasons.
Despite the heat and Mimi’s lingering illness, we took our big girl to Barnes and Noble for a new book (okay, two) and a treat from the cafe. Later on, she informed me that she’d had a really good day. She is still nervous, but optimistic.
I haven’t decided if I had a good day or not. But it’s over, anyway. Her next day of school is two weeks away. Which means I have two weeks to adapt to the concept that my baby girl will be in the hands of a stranger for 8 hours a day.
I am not ready. I am not ready. I am not ready.
Neither is she, but she handles change way better than I do. She’ll be fine.
As is the fashion now, I took her photo before we headed off to school. I did not give her a giant t-shirt to wear (what if she outgrows it before she graduates?), or mention anywhere her estimated graduation date (what if she’s held back, or doesn’t graduate at all?). No, I just captured her in all her gorgeous, gangly nervous excitement. My baby. My girl. My young lady in progress.
I am not ready. Is anyone, ever? How could they be?