I snapped this photo yesterday morning as Hannah headed to her first day of grade one. Although, truthfully, it wasn’t much of a first day. For a variety of reasons, the first day of school here lasts for approximately 30 minutes, and basically consists of taking attendance. To make things easier, kids return to their classroom from last year for the brief check-in. So Hannah sat on the carpet in the kindergarten room, with her kindergarten classmates and her kindergarten teacher. Today things will be different, though, and she will actually go to grade one (!!!).
The girl in the photo I took yesterday was barely able to hold still long enough for me to snap the picture. She was bouncing on the spot, literally vibrating with excitement. She brought her bear for company, never thinking twice about it. She talked my ear off about all of the friends that she would see, and about how great it would be to have a desk of her own to keep her school supplies in. She asked about my own grade one experiences, and told me exactly which friends she wanted to see first.
I love my daughter’s unbridled enthusiasm. I love that she doesn’t feel the need to apologize for being herself. I love her constant forward momentum, and her anticipation of what comes next. I love that she still wants me to come along with her, and gives me a special smile from her spot on the carpet. My girl. My big girl. Ready to take on the world with her bear by her side.
Today is the real first day. It’s a day that is full of promise and potential and bittersweet-ness. It’s the day when I will kiss the girl in that photo good-bye, entrusting her to the public school system for a full six hours. And then I will come home without her, and feel the full weight of this transition. It’s full of promise and potential for me, too.
My daughter and I are taking a step towards independence together. It’s fitting, really – because that’s what parenting her has always been. She’s my firstborn, and we figure it all out together. Hopefully, in the end, we’ll both grow up.