Kindergarten. Fingerpainting. Circle time. Teddy bear nametags worn on strings around grubby little necks. Outlines of entire bodies crudely drawn on large sheets of butcher paper. And most of all, mothers staring wistfully through the windows of classrooms all over America with the irrevocable realization that a line has been crossed in their baby’s history.
A greater percentage of hours will now be spent in the care and tutelage of others than in yours from this point forward. Your influence will slowly diminish. Every one of those mothers, without exception, wonders how did this happen? How did that baby I held in my arms and snuggled close get to be this big kid with shiny new sneakers and a pink backpack that looks almost her size?
The beginning of school always makes me wistful. My daughter’s backpack is black now and her sneakers (oh, I’m sorry, her $75 DC’s) are bigger than mine. In five more years she will be finished with school. And then…and then…who knows? She says she’ll stay with me forever, but I suppose that will change.
Just like that big five-year-old kid who waved goodbye and confidently marched in that red school door with nary a backward glance, I imagine she will eventually decide to leave mom behind. That’s as it should be.
My best friend Jenny on that first day of our daughters’ kindergarten so long ago said, “Well you wouldn’t have wanted her to be sad right? Anyway, they were just excited for their first day. Come on, we have to get back to our own monsters.” And she took my arm cheerfully so that we could go back to our respective sixth-grade classrooms.
We had our own kids to teach. We needed to return to the Angelicas, Roberts, Brittanys, Codys, and Ashleys. Our job is to do the very best that we can every day all day long at imparting wisdom and, hopefully, shaping something of who they become. I am always a bit awe-struck that moms entrust us with this, their most precious baby. It’s like getting a rare piece of art on loan from the Louvre. Maybe their parents feel a little bit sad too.
In honor of my teen diva (who has an amazing sense of style and fashion), here is a great website from Seventeen/Cosmogirl where you can dress different celebrities in great fashions. I know I had fun!
copyright © 2010 Tiia Jones