No matter how hard they tried, the five-year-olds could not stand still. Every child sported combed hair, a brand new outfit and an oversized backpack that slid off of one shoulder. The teacher at the head of the line greeted each child as they arrived. She was kind and soft spoken and safe. The children already idolized her. When the teacher announced that it was time to go into the school the children stood up straight. The teacher told them to say goodbye to their parents. Today was the first day of kindergarten. It was time to start their new life.
No matter how hard they tried, the parents of the five-year-olds couldn’t stop that lump from forming in their throats. Every parent sported a brave face, a churning stomach and a tear in the corner of their eye. They watched the teacher and wondered how she could tolerate being around that many five-year-olds at once. When the teacher announced that it was time to go into the school, the parents took a deep breath and hid behind their cameras. The teacher told them to say goodbye to their children. Today was the first day of kindergarten. It was time to let go.
Most of the parents turned to their children and waved. Most of the children turned to their parents and waved. It was a special moment for them.
Hiding my tears and putting on a big smile, I turned to wave to the then 5 year old teenager, my first born, my sweet ‘punkin’ pie. I saw her turn around to wave. But she looked right past me. Her eyes and her wave landed on the five-year-old neighbor girl who was in line with her. I heard the teenager yell to her friend, “Hey Isabella! I’ll see you at recess, ok? We can play together!”
And that was how elementary school began.
It was a September day in the year of 2000 when I watched the five-year-old teenager walk into her new elementary school. Hers would be the first kindergarten class ever to attend this school. Many years later, when the teenager was in her last year of elementary school, the boy would begin kindergarten at the same school. And after 6 more years, it is now time for the boy to move on to middle school.
I find myself with a stack of 11 elementary school yearbooks in my hall closet-every single one the school has ever printed. I remember the day the ribbon was cut to open the school. I remember holding the newborn boy in one arm and reaching down to grab the five-year-old teenager’s tiny hand so she wouldn’t get lost in the crowd.
And then…somehow…11 years flew by.
It will be a June day in the year of 2011 when I watch the boy walk out of that elementary school for one last time. He will be sporting uncombed hair, dirty basketball shorts and oversized feet that are bigger than mine. I will look at him-my last born, my sweet little precious- and try to stop that lump from forming in my throat. As the boy and I walk home together for the very last time, we will be surrounded by children who now seem to be so small and parents who now seem to be so young. I will think, “That used to be me. Until…somehow…11 years flew by.”
And that is how elementary school will end.
Check This Out!
The teenager's high school marching band played this super fun song recently for our hometown parade. They were awesome! Listen to this version. It's pretty good too!