Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Today was the first day of school. I love this time of year. I love the newness of sharp crayons, crisp notebooks and non-goopy glue sticks. I love the little kids all dressed in their Sunday best, ready to impress their teachers and make some new friends. When I was teaching, I loved preparing my classroom, decorating it with bright colors, labeling everything with my students' names, and really striving to make it a home away from home for them and me. For the most part, I am very content with my decision to hang up my school bag and take on diapers and housework full time. But this time of year has always been the hardest for me. I can't help but find myself in the back to school section at Target, resisting my urge to pick up twenty-five cent crayons and a pack of markers for a buck, because man, that's cheap. I don't need them. We have plenty. But sometimes it's really hard to pass up a good deal. Something has shifted in me this year, and I'm completely at peace. I don't feel like I still have one foot in the door of a classroom. I don't long to scour the dollar aisle for name plates and birthday certificates and casually toss them in my cart. I haven't thought of what former families now have kids in Kindergarten and if I would have gotten to teach them. Because I'm not going back. At least not anytime soon. And for the first time in three years, I am really, fully ok with that.

So instead of wearing the teacher hat today, I proudly wore my Mom hat, and set out to make the day special and memorable in our own way. This tradition kind of happened on accident the first year I stayed home. Nugget and I were out for a walk on what was the first day of school, and she, just having turned one, got really excited about all the school buses we saw driving around town. She waved and the drivers waved back, and my heart swelled twice it's size when I learned my girl loved her some school buses. So we did it again last year, and today too. We set out to have breakfast at Patty's Place, which is a treat in itself, and watch the buses as they rolled down Main Street on their way to school. School starts at nine o'clock, which is perfect. It's past the morning rush of Patty's 'regulars' and we always are able to get a window seat for the best viewing.

As we headed out this morning, we passed a small cluster of kids at a corner bus stop, a mom proudly snapping away with a camera in hand. I totally choked backed tears at the sight. I quickly pushed aside the thoughts that someday my girl will actually be on one of those buses we watch, and that she won't be sitting down at Patty's Place with me. When that day comes I'm gonna be a mess. I don't know how I'll get through that one. Thankfully, I have three years til that dreaded day. But she'll be ready. And man, she's gonna love school.

Carrying on, we enjoyed our breakfast while we counted buses, and brother happily tended to his puffs.

Sister didn't quite get her fill of buses, so we drove over to the middle school, where we parked the car and watched as the buses returned to the bus garage. She watched excitedly as some rounded the corner and pulled in, and even got to see a few fill up at the pump station.

Someday, I'm gonna have to let her go out into the world and make her mark, separate from me. But today, well, today she's still mine. I held her hand a little tighter and drank her in a little more. And I'm very, very thankful for this day with her.

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