The night before the first day of school, I hopped into bed with a little nervous energy. We had packed our lunches and laid out uniforms, including socks and underwear, and there was nothing left for me to do except wait for sleep to come. Seven hours later and ten minutes before my alarm, my little girl asked, “Is it morning time, yet?”
I can’t remember if I awoke early on my first day of kindergarten, but I know, like my daughter, I was prepared. My mother taught me my teacher’s name ahead of time–Mrs. Checkers–so when the middle-aged lady with straight, golden locks asked the class if anyone knew her name, I shot my hand up into the air:
“Mrs. Checkers!” I yelled out.
“No,” she replied and then shared a name that I can’t since remember.
I was embarrassed and confused. My mother had told me that name; she wouldn’t have been wrong. I sat for the next few minutes in my desk dejected until the teacher began to take attendance.
I don’t know how the parapro outside the school walked me into the wrong room, and I’m not quite sure why there even was a desk for me in Mrs. Straight Hair’s class. The first day of school 28 years ago sure was different than it is now, but on that day I was walked across the hall to Mrs. Checkers’s class and joined the students already engaged with that sweet old woman with soft white hair.
Yesterday, my daughter walked into her room with her mom and dad and found the desk labeled with her name. We took a few pictures before kissing her goodbye, and I touched her hair one last time before I walked away….
I wonder what Hannah Grace will remember about her day, that she was the line-leader and wore her white uniform shirt with a khaki skort or what objects she shared out of the paper bag that was to tell the class all about her. Perhaps, I will remember more than she, that she was excited all morning until right before we left when I saw a flash of uncertainty come across her eyes. That her little sister asked me to pick up Hannah Grace and their brother from school because she was lonely. That looking at her smile as she bounded into the van after school, telling me about her owl and the snack the class would get tomorrow for being good, made my heart explode at the cuteness.
I don’t know what she will remember; perhaps, she’ll simply remember the pictures we took to document the day.
But I know what I will remember. I will remember a brave little girl who walked into her classroom, as her brother did the year before, ready to start this new journey…and the brave mommy and daddy who walked out the door, in disbelief that it was already time to let her go.
What memories do you have from your first day of school? From your child’s?