First Day of School
“Mommy, when Sissy be home?”
Braden, my three-year-old, seemed to miss his big sister as much as I did. I found it hard to believe it was the first day of first grade for my oldest child.
It seemed like only yesterday that Dan and I were wondering why I hadn’t gotten pregnant after nearly two years of marriage. Fertility testing indicated nothing was preventing us from getting pregnant, we just didn’t.
Then, a few months later, I found out I was indeed expecting, and before we knew it, our sweet Abigail was coming home with us in that pretty pink blanket that Dan’s mother knitted.
I remember the Minnie Mouse party we had for Abigail’s first birthday, and the My Little Pony party when she turned two. She was into Yo Gabba Gabba at three, and we celebrated her fourth birthday while on a family vacation to Disney World. There was that trip out west to see the grandparents and go horseback riding when she turned five. It all seemed just days ago. Where had the time gone?
“Can I have a popsicle?”
Braden’s request jerked me back to reality. I reached into the freezer and wondered if Abigail had had lunch yet. It was almost noon, but some of the moms I knew had told me horror stories of their kids eating lunch as early as nine thirty in the morning. What if Abigail was hungry? What if I’d given her too much juice for breakfast and she had to go to the bathroom and couldn’t make it in time? Those kinds of things happened, I knew.
Gwen down the street got called to the office on the first day of school last year when her Emily had an accident. I wasn’t sure who was more embarrassed, mother or daughter, but I worried about something like that happening to Abigail.
I looked at my cell phone but no, there were no messages. And it was fully charged, so I was ready for a call if one came.
I’d already finished my first cup of tea that morning but suddenly realized my teacup was missing. Had I taken it into the living room? I checked, but there was no sign of it.
Maybe it was in the laundry room where I’d gone to double-check my calendar of PTA meetings that hung there. No. My cup wasn’t in there either. Odd. But then everything about that day had felt slightly odd.
I knew I wasn’t the first mom to send her child off to school and I wouldn’t be the last, but no one had warned me how hard it would be. After caring for my child’s every need for almost six years, I suddenly was entrusting her safety to someone else?
Thank goodness there was a prayer group at church for first-day-of-school moms. I was so grateful when I got a text from Wendy, whose kids are in middle school this year. It said, “Praying 4 U 2Day!” I sure hoped Wendy kept it up.
And I sure hoped Abigail was having a good day. I had been determined to make her first day of school special, so Dan and I had surprised her by placing a small vase of yellow flowers on her nightstand soon after we got up, making sure it was the first thing she would see when her Hello Kitty alarm clock went off.
The funny thing was that Abigail seemed much less worried about the first day of school than I was. When I walked her into her classroom and left her there, I found myself tearing up, but she was fine. “Bye, Mommy,” she said, giving me a peck on the cheek and heading in to get a sticker from Miss Lauren, her teacher.
“She’ll be fine,” Miss Lauren had told me. “I promise.”
Miss Lauren looked as though she had just graduated two weeks ago, but she seemed smart, sweet, and cheerful, which was pretty much all I wanted in my child’s teacher. I wondered if Miss Lauren would think Abigail was gifted.
As I pondered all that, I reached for the teacup that I usually kept next to my seat on the sectional in the living room, but it wasn’t there. What had I done with that teacup?
Suddenly aware that I hadn’t heard Braden in a while, I passed through the living room and headed down the hall to his room. No Braden.
I checked in my and Dan’s room. Nothing.
It dawned on me to look in Abigail’s room. Braden was sitting on the floor in front of her nightstand, and he held up his chubby little hands and shoved my missing teacup before me.
“For you, Mommy. Frow-ers,” he said.
He had stripped down Abigail’s beautiful first-day-of-school bouquet and plopped the tattered little yellow flowers into my teacup.
“Oh, wow,” I said, trying to recover as gracefully as I could. “You made this just for me?”
“Uh-huh,” he said, a proud smile on his face.
What could I do?
“Thank you, sweetheart,” I said, scooping him up into a big hug. “I love it. And most of all, I love you!”
There would be other flowers. In fact, I would run by the grocery store on the way to pick up Abigail and get a replacement bouquet. If I knew my child, she would be so eager to tell me about everything that had happened at school, she wouldn’t even think to look at those flowers for hours—if then.
After all, just a few short years and I would be sitting at home one day wondering how Braden’s first day of school was going.
Meanwhile, it was time to find another teacup and have that second cup of tea.