First Grade Nostalgia

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My daughter started first grade today. This was a big event for us. All day, the big playground, cafeteria lunches, the real deal. While standing at the end of the driveway this morning, waiting for the bright orange-yellow bus to whisk her away, I thought back nostalgically to her first day of kindergarten. The excitement of going to a new school with the 'big' kids. Riding the school bus for the first time. Has it really already been a year?
When the bus stopped, she struggled across the street, laden with three bags of 'required' school supplies (don't get me started). Up the three stairs she climbed without a look back. No wave for Mom - she was too busy making her way to an empty seat on a bus filled with alarmingly older looking kids. I experienced a sad, sweet flashback to last year. She would arrive home from kindergarten on the bus, eagerly peaking out her window. The bus would stop, and there was my baby. She would run down the stairs, a huge smile on her little face, and jump into my arms with an exuberant 'Mommy!'.
As my day passed quietly by, I thought of her often. Was she being treated kindly? Did she remember the important lessons Greg and I have tried so hard to teach her? That if she works hard, she can go anywhere? That she is a beautiful, precious child, no matter what? That she is loved? That she needs to wash her hands after visiting the girl's room, and please, don't forget to flush? OK, that last one was more practical than sentimental, but important nonetheless.
Time is a cruel concept, where fleeting, precious moments flicker across our reality, and then are gone in the blink of an eye. Forever.
As I waited for her bus this afternoon, I thought of all the ways she has grown. She seems so tall lately. In the last year she has learned to read, add, subtract, tie her shoes and swim. How many other countless tiny changes are taking place everyday without my notice? Panic rose as I thought about how quickly her milestones have come and gone. How long before she is a big kid in the back of the bus? In high school? College? A wife? A mother? My rising panic changed to joy as the bus pulled up, and I saw her smiling little face in the window. And there she was, running down the bus stairs and jumping into my arms yelling 'Mommy!'. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for that gift. I will treasure it every day it is still available.

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