Monday, September 5, 2011

Big Yellow Taxi

Hello, little first grader.

 Here we are, waiting for the bus, on her very first day of school.
 My stomach is full of butterflies, and I am nervous about meeting a room full of new parents that I will be seeing over the next year, but she is cool, calm and collected, excited about being gone for the whole day.
 I have been dreading this moment ever since the first day I held her wriggly little body swaddled in blankets. Once the ball starts rolling, it rolls and rolls, faster and faster until it sprouts wings, words, and gains confidence, then up, up and away it goes. I swear, just yesterday we were giving her puree of butternut squash and singing "open wi-ide".
Today starts twelve years of lonely lunches for me, hearing the hum of the refrigerator in a quiet house, companion-less grocery shopping, and reaching for the remote without punching in the cartoon network. That, I may not mind, but the rest I really, really do. I like having her around. She is my reason for so many things, and her company I will miss very, very much.

The big yellow taxi pulled up, opened it's doors and invited my daughter into the constant motion of the world and spun her instantly into social orbit.

Did she find a seat okay? Is she sitting with someone? who is she sitting with? Is she scared? If she's not sitting with someone, is she lonely? Does she wish she had someone to sit with?  Is she cold?...I always remember being cold on the bus....Did I screw the lid onto her water bottle tight enough? Is it getting her lunch all wet? I hope not. I did put the bagel in her lunch box...right? Can she see us? I can't see her.
 Jeremy, drive faster.

Yes, we did follow the bus to school. : )

Once at school, we hopped out and spotted her pink jacket in the sea of grade school faces. "The bus was cool." she said, which eased my heart a little as we joined the cattle call and the herd moved through the front doors. Moo.

My heart was pounding as the familiar "first day anxiety" set in. Being a shy kid myself, I can recall it well.

Coveted school real estate: your very own hanger for the whole year. Pretty cool.

The other new parents looked just as shy as me and gave tight smiles and small glances at one another. Luckily, Gracie's best buddy who's mom happens to be my best friend was there which made me smile even though I felt like bawling.
 She found her desk, slid into the seat, crossed her fingers together in a studious tight grip and waited quietly until me and Jeremy said our goodbyes for the day. As I kissed her, I saw her little feet swinging back and forth, fast, something she does when she's nervous. Her whole body is still, except for those legs that furiously release that nervous energy under the table where no one but me would notice. Funny girl. I love her little quirks.
As we walked out, holding my tears in, I pulled my heart behind me like a dog on a leash. It's time to let her grow, I know, but I cannot help to want the control that is slipping out of my hands like quick sand. She is on her own, away from the nest for a good chunk of the day, strengthening her wings and I will not be physically there to catch her if she falls. They all have to fall sometime, that's how they learn, but how I wish that I could be there to catch her every time it happens.

Ooooh, I love a good itinerary. I like the teacher already

I haven't been alone yet.
Jeremy took the latter half of the week off of work to ease me through, so I know the brunt of this will hit me soon. I won't be idle though, that's for sure. A couple people have asked me what I'm going to all day now that she's in school. I take a deep breath and say: Edit hundreds of back logged photos that have been patiently waiting for my attention. Repaint the bathroom. Winterize the garden. Clean out the chicken coop. Revamp the business I have opened. Hopefully gain some new photography clients. Clean out the science experiment we have been conducting in our fridge. Deep clean all three bathrooms. Make the dog a Christmas stocking out of felt. Read my camera manual cover to cover. Study it. Help install hardwood floors. Fold Mount Laundry. Paint trim. Stack the firewood for the winter. Plan meals. Make meals. Repaint the living room and possibly the dining room. Read a book that is not related to photography. Train the dog on her new electric dog fence. Clean out the spare room. Volunteer in Gracie's classroom. Go have lunch in the cafeteria with her at least once a week. Organize our bedroom closet. Organize Gracie's bedroom closet. Rearrange the pantry. Clean out the kitchen cabinets and fi-nal-ly get them organized. Clean off the deck. Blog more. and finally, be a good mom.
 I am very lucky to do what I've always wanted to do. Take care of my family and to be a mother.
 My days will have to adjust, but my hope is to always be available, to catch her if she falls.  
Happy first days of school, everyone. : )

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