The night before the first day of school, I’m finally accepting and welcoming this relatively big moment. The whole summer I’ve stuck to the script, telling family and friends that my daughter is ready for school. Even with summer school and rec programs, she misses structure, centers, friends and snack time. She misses everything connected to her elementary school and can’t wait for hot lunch, fresh crayons and to meet her teacher.
The night before the first day of school, I can feel my heart rate accelerate as I frantically pick up toys and mentally plan tomorrow’s breakfast and departure.
My mind wanders to if I should research last-minute Pinterest crafts. Even with my non-crafty skills, perhaps, I too, can whip out a personalized framed sign before tomorrow morning. Then, my brain kicks in and reminds me, no, if you don’t already have a framed sign, life will go on. We can repeat last year’s unique pose-in-front-of-the-school-sign photo and call it a tradition. Perhaps in five years I’ll create some sort of time-lapsed flip-book (as if I’m that organized).
The night before the first day of school, I’d rather mix myself a cocktail and double check her supply list. I’ll admit to myself that yes, even though she’s technically ready — I’m ready, my husband is ready — it still is a big deal. A big milestone that, as milestones do, only come around once a lifetime. She’s joyous, filled with wonder, spunk and questions. With each motherhood milestone, the feeling is always bittersweet, but rarely is there one day you can point to on the calendar and say, “Here’s the day something big will happen.” Instead, babies take wobbly steps regardless of the audience, kids fumble around with clothing and then one day they magically come downstairs dressed. They practice and then things start to click.
The night before the first day of school, let’s admit, even though we may or may not be “ready,” it’s alright to be a bit nostalgic and reminisce about times that were so sweet and, if you could, you would rewind the tape for just a minute or two just to tell yourself to enjoy the moment and never, ever wish milestones to come faster.