Remembering the First Day of School

Now an empty nester, I watch the school bus drive by my house filled with other mother’s children. While I do like my french fry & debris free car, a refrigerator from which food does not mysteriously disappear, and the peace and quiet that comes with this season, I’m reminiscing about the first day I took my oldest to school. This 20 year old bittersweet memory seems like yesterday. Maybe you can relate?

The wind blew hard today; it was a sign of the times.
A change of season in the weather and in our lives.

schoolbus sign

The firstborn went to school today.

The wind may have been trying to sweep away the anxiety of the day, but it only served to add to the swirling confusion of emotions.  I’m excited about the new freedom and fearful at the same time. He’s in someone else’s care for the first time.

Will they recognize immediately how splendidly unique this child is?  Do they see how positively he responds to a word of encouragement or praise and how easily his feelings are bruised?

Will they see that he is intrepid, that he has no instincts for imminent peril?

Will they watch as I watch to see no harm comes to him?

I’m so grateful for the years I’ve had him to myself at home. To let time stand still and use it how ever I chose.

It hadn’t occurred to me that so many aspects of our lives would change in one day.  The school calendar will dictate sleeping and eating patterns, vacation schedules and how our luxury time is spent.  We will be governed by and obligated to class projects, parent-teacher conferences, school fundraisers, field trips, extracurricular activities and interscholastic sports well into the next decade.

He’s only been gone two hours and I miss him.  No one is terrorizing his little brother or asking for Koolaide or coaxing me to skip his rest and play instead.  I wonder if he’s made any friends, if he likes his teacher, if he will be brave or if he will cry?  I hope he can get his new pants buttoned by himself.

How did he get so big?

Gone is the baby talk I found so enchanting.  “Mama, haf swamwich, pease?”  Hotchdog, dwink, bargage twuck, and Hutty-Dutty have been lost to their clearly enunciated replacements.  It took me forever to figure out that “mutt” meant “open it” and now I wonder why I worked so hard to correct him.

The page is turned and a new chapter is begun.  He walked into his classroom chatting excitedly with another miniature human as his father and I snuffled our good-byes and pretended to be delighted about his independence and the new stage of life.

Scripture Refresher:  There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth: A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 The Message Bible

Prayer:  God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
Amen.  Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971