My eldest started Junior Kindergarten last week, in 2 one hour trips to the classroom. The first hour was a parented visit and we brought along tissue and a fully loaded camera to capture the hesitant first day of school and the cute picture of a wee child at a giant school door.
The second day, or the second hour, was non-parented and Lauren went on into the class so bravely that it seemed big-kid school was already old-hat. So the idea to pack Kleenex and a camera for today, day three, and a longer 9:30-1pm day, never occurred to the rookie JK mom.
I don't a have picture to prove it but I will never forget the image I have of my daughter today. Inside the kindergarten gated area, last in her class line-up, Lauren stood in her school clothes with her beige sunhat and brand new backpack. She didn't look back at the kindergarten wall at us, she was focused on that line-up and on being part of something bigger.
Andrew, her younger brother, was perched on the wall while Daddy held him up to see. We stood with the other parents all gazing over the wall with thoughts of pride as we watched our kids interact.
Andrew was the most distraught of all, calling "Bye bye Nana! Byeeee Nana!" (code: nana = Lauren) to no response. Mommy & Daddy weren't calling out but both our hearts were pounding as we watched this little/big girl find her place in her new world.
"Byyyyye Nana!!" kept getting called out to no avail.
Then just when we thought Lauren was totally immersed in her thoughts, she turned around, squinting into the sun at us and lifting her peak of her sunhat, smiled broadly and called "Bye Andrew! I love you!" and waved good-bye.
Then a quieter "Bye Mommy! Bye Daddy!" followed as an extra addition so we wouldn't feel left out. Bless her.
That beautiful, confident smile and then she turned away and followed Mrs S into the school just broke my heart. In a good way. Like it was a pat on the back saying "you're doing a good job Mama, she's gonna grow up fine".
Andrew put his head in his hands and cried "Oh, Nana, gone bye-bye" and if I had brought along that box of Kleenex I would have joined him. Or at least taken an everlasting picture of that confident, beautiful little girl that I'm so lucky to say is my own.