It's no surprise that Emma loved her first day and can't wait to go back tomorrow. But leave it to my little early bird to pick TODAY to ask if she could sleep in. No, sister, that's what summer is for. She sat up in bed and said, "You mean I have to wait until next summer to sleep in?" Weren't the last 104 days of summer vacation good enough for her?!
But once she was awake, she was excited. Donning her new first-day-of-school outfit, she begrudgingly posed for a zillion pictures for me before we all climbed in the van to head to school. I might let her take the bus next week, but I'll hold on to all I can for now.
On the way to school, I asked if she was excited (fully expecting an enthusiastic "yes!"), but with a small voice, she said, "Mommy, I'm a little bit scared." So we prayed together on the short drive there, and asked the Lord to be with her and to give her courage. I never sensed an inkling of fear after that. My girl knows where her help comes from!
We waited for the bell to ring to go inside, and ran into Emma's buddy from preschool who is in another kindergarten class (also named Emma - we call them M&M!) and her fourth grade sister with the same outfit!
Once inside, I had her lead the way to her classroom. At one point she wriggled her hand out of mine and said she didn't want to hold my hand! Seriously? But when we reached her classroom, she grabbed my hand and held it tight, because nerves set in. But in no time, she settled in at a table, coloring a raccoon and immersed in her little kindergarten world.
I stuck around to hear the bell ring, sing the National Anthem (I had no idea they did that!) and say the Pledge of Allegiance with the class. It brought back so many memories!
As I was walking back to the car, it hit me. My eyes welled up as I tried to rest confident that we've prepared her for this day; for these days where she'll be apart from us more than ever before. Will she be polite? Will the kids like her? Will she be a good listener? Will her teacher love her like I do? And just like I've had to do so many times in my kids' lives, I handed over my baby and her school years over to God. Even if I can't be there every second making sure she's safe and happy and loved, HE IS.
After school, she happily came running when she was dismissed. We went home and made lunch, and walked to a park for an after-school picnic. She told me about the class rules ("We have rules mommy, definitely no running in the class. Definitely.") and about recess ("I swinged on the swings, but no one else did. I was lonely.") and about time in class ("I played with Sam. We danced and we sang and I kissed his brain)".
And on our way home to have popsicles, Emma found a frog. And if you know Emma, you know she LOVES frogs. For her, it was like the perfect ending to a great kindergarten day. Naturally.