Anya’s first day of school

Yes, it’s that humid here. Pity me.

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?


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