Last night, I wasn’t quite sure we would be getting any sleep at all. Ella was far too excited for her first day of first grade. She laid out her clothes for the morning, set out her new pink pony lunch bag, was tucked in by 8pm. Sleep, however, didn’t come for another two hours. Eventually, I cuddled in next to her to rub her back and sing in the hopes she would drift to sleep. At last, she did. And so did I.
This morning we were up bright and early, long before we needed to be. The two of us made breakfast together while Sam played at the table. I would like to say we had something lovely and maybe a bit fancy. Whole wheat pancakes with fresh blueberries perhaps, or fluffy Belgian waffles drowned in maple syrup. But no, we reheated a cinnamon roll from yesterday’s batch. Not homemade, mind you. They came from a can. But hey, we completely enjoyed that cinnamon roll together. I packed her lunch, put Sam in the stroller, and walked to the end of the street to wait for the bus. As we waited, she proudly posed for the first-day-of-school photos and then she was off! Her first day of first grade.
I do find it a bit hard to believe I have a first grader. Part of it is that I have very clear memories of first grade. My teacher Mrs Anderson, my first crush who definitely didn’t share my sentiments, playing for hours on end with my best friend Chanda. The fact that I can still remember such vivid details of the year I was six makes me realize that my girl is old enough to store away her own, as well. Memories that will last her entire life. She’ll remember how it feels to be invited to a friend’s birthday party, learn fascinating new things in school, and, heaven forbid, have her first crush. Sweet memories. But along with the sweet memories, she will inevitably have the not-so-sweet memories. Like being embarrassed by someone in her class or making a choice she wishes she hadn’t. My mama heart so dearly wants to protect her from those hard memories. I want to be shield her from the twinge of hurt that accompanies them for years after they initially took place. But that wouldn’t be fair, would it. Not when I consider how much I grew from those moments. How I learned who I was and who I didn’t want to be. And how I became stronger and smarter and kinder. Those are the qualities I want for my Ella. So I will let her grow and I will let her make her memories. Because mixed in with all those harder memories are really, really good ones. And those are the beautiful pieces she will place together when she remembers what it was like to be my little girl.
For those hard moments when I feel my mama heart truly worrying, I remember this verse from Isaiah. There is no reason to fear. He is with me and He is with my darling girl.
What are some of your favorite memories from your first years of school?