Disclaimer: I apologize in advance for the length of this post, but I write all this so that I can remember it. Happy Reading!
The Night Before…
I am transported to years of going through the motions of getting ready the night before my first day of school. The same anticipatory jitters and marking off items on my checklist. But it’s not my day, it’s yours.
I put together an outfit for you, a floral shirt, matching tights. I pack your new backpack with snacks and juice boxes, label your sippy cup and store it away.
I’m nervous, I’m anxious, and I’m excited for you.
First Day of School
Baba and Mummy and Babzy [little sister Rabab] come to wake you up on your special day today. You’re never up this early, and today is no different because although we’ve been talking about this day for the past few weeks, you’re too little to know the day is here. You moan and whine, rubbing your sleepy eyes, leaving dream land behind. But for me, you’re leaving babyhood behind.
It’s a rainy day, but you’re in a good mood so it doesn’t really matter, nothing else matters. You’ve got your raincoat on and your butterfly backpack, and you look as though you’re ready for this, which gives us an ounce of hope. I’m following you around with phone in hand, eager to capture it all, so I can look back on it and hold onto it a little longer.
We walk into your new sanctuary for a few hours a week, where you’ll create your own adventures and explore new activities, and grow. We find your classroom, with your very own cubby and say good morning to your teacher, who you shy away from with a teeny smile. Another good sign.
It’s time for us to go.
You walk over to your favorite toy, the play kitchen and get busy gathering toy produce and plates. We hesitate for a moment, fumbling with the idea of saying goodbye. Baba and I exchange a look, it’s time for us to go. I tell you, we’ll come back soon, just going to get you that pink cake pop you asked for last night. You don’t respond, but you don’t protest either, so it seems okay to walk away. And so we start exiting, tears escaping me before I can hold them. And I don’t turn around to hug you or wave goodbye, because I can’t let you see me.
9:15 am – 12:15 pm
We drive home and reach in 2 minutes, and I struggle to keep my mind off of you. It doesn’t take you long to realize you miss us, and start to cry. The teachers pacify you, take you into their arms and rock you for a while, till you quiet down. I call your school, speak to the teacher, ask her if we should return, but she reassures me that you’ll settle down. And you did. Though you were upset, you stayed put, in her lap, clenching your blankie, the one familiar item we packed just for this moment.
Those three hours were the longest I’ve ever waited, longer than any labor or pregnancy, or anything else. I couldn’t focus on any one task, I couldn’t help but watch the clock. I was uneasy, and I felt like something’s missing. I kept feeling an itch to drive back to pick you up, but I kept telling myself to wait. Give her some time to adjust…give yourself time to adjust to this too.
It’s been three hours, which was the goal for today. I didn’t expect to leave you that long, but we watched you and you seemed to be alright. We drive over anxiously to come and get you. We see you through the window of your class, sitting in that same spot you have been for over an hour, holding onto your beloved blanky.
When we walk in, the teacher gives us a warning before we enter your classroom. She may cry when she sees you, which is normal..she is just relieved to see you, that’s all. Boy, was she right. You broke down into tears and climbed into our arms, put your head on my shoulders. I comforted you and told you how well you did. You were so happy to see us, you even waved goodbye to your class and teacher.
We deliver your cake pop to you as promised, and the first thing you say is “And babzy ke liye”, which translates to, “And one for Babzy?” That’s one thing I love about you, you’re always including your sister. I already knew you’d say that, so I got her one too.
We took you out for lunch after, since you didn’t eat anything at your school. That’s okay, you’ll eat as you become more comfortable there. You’re so excited to see us, I can tell. You tease your sister, brimming with joy to see her. And you attack your food.
You proceed to tell us a little bit about your day, about how you cried. You said “Mummy tum wait karri thi” which translates to, “Mummy, you were waiting for me”. It’s something I tell you every night, how I’ll drop you at school and since I can’t come there with you, I’ll be waiting for you at home.
Besides the crying part, you also tell us some positive things about school. Like how you played with blocks, and made a tower with a new friend you made. When I ask you if you’d like to go to school again, you say hmmm. When I mention your teacher, you say she’s your friend. And when we’re talking about this, suddenly, you seem older to me. Like you grew in those three hours away from me.
It’s the strangest paradox. I want to hold on, yet I know I have to let go. One of the hardest things to do. But it is the most fulfilling feeling, to be able to witness you transitioning from a toddler to a pre-schooler. What a joy it is to watch you grow and bloom into the extraordinary flower that you are. I pray that you enjoy every moment at your new school.
How was your child’s experience of first day of nursery/school? Love hearing all about #firstdayofschool.