Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Cat's Throwing up on my Shoe . . . Tales of the First Day of School

And they're off. The bus just picked up my two kids. They are unleashed into the wild.

The morning went about as expected. They woke up early with the anticipation of going back to school. They ate breakfast with no complaints. They grew more quiet as the morning wore on. I made sure they each knew their lunch PIN number and classroom number. My daughter ended up writing her lunch number on her arm so she wouldn't have to worry about forgetting it in the lunch line.

There were some tense moments when we couldn't find my daughter's neon pink arm warmers. She argued about having to wear her glasses again. I reminded her that they are non-negotiable when she is in school. (I'll bet money that she walks off the bus tonight without having them on.) My son refuses to use his new Clone Wars backpack that I bought him. He insisted on using the same Pirates of the Caribbean backpack from last year. It has two holes in it and a stain from the last day of Y Camp this year when it rained all day. I was picking my battles this morning, and that just wasn't going to be one of them. The pirate backpack was reenlisted for duty.

All was going according to schedule when I heard a piercing scream from my daughter. "The cat's throwing up on my shoe!" Sure enough, the cat was throwing up near my daughter's new Rosy Hodgepodge Hi-Top sneaker shoes. The brand new ones with the crochet flower details. My daughter's favorite possession at the moment. I ran down the stairs to the front door where the cat was throwing up all over the floor. Evidently, she had the "first day of school nerves" also. Fortunately, the shoes managed to avoid the cat puke. I cleaned up after her, and all was well again.

I took their pictures. Together. Individually. With their backpacks. They didn't complain too much. Every year I take their pictures on the first and last days of school. It's amazing to see how much they grow each year.

Finally, it was time to be at the bus stop. We were there the requisite ten minutes early. The bus was right on time. The driver was the one from last year who had been hurt last winter when he fell on the ice. The kids were overjoyed to see him again. I stood looking at the kids getting on the bus. I smiled and told them to have a great day. The driver looked at me and grinned. He held his hand up, and I went up on the bus to give him a high-five. Then, in a great fit of grace and maturity, he and I both chanted, "First day of school! First day of school!" I laughed, gave the kids and driver one last smile and waive and went into the house.

It was quiet. The cat came and looked for the kids. I swallowed down the lump in my throat. I told myself it's just not possible to miss them already. I looked around the house at the reminders of the summer that has just passed by all too quickly. There is a Lego creation on a table. One of my daughter's drawing pads is in the living room. I feel like I'm perched on a precipice for some reason. I'm afraid to move. New beginnings don't upset me the way that goodbyes and endings do, but they make me nervous.

I'm sure I'll be nervous all day today and feeling like I'm inching my way around a steep drop-off. Every once in awhile I'll look at the clock and wonder what the kids are doing right this very minute. Are they having fun? Are they making new friends? Are they resilient enough to shake off any disappointments that may have happened? I may throw up myself.

I worry too much. I'm a Mom. And that's my job.

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