Monday, August 10, 2020

First Day of School

It's my favorite day of the year.  I put on my newly washed coat of many colors, stuff my pockets full of stickers, and leave my house before 7am.  The parking lot in front of the school is filled with families dressed in their back to school finery, colorful hijabs and dashikis of all lengths bumping up against glittery unicorns and sneakers that blink when you run.

I miss cries of Watch My Shoes! as last year's kindergarteners shusss across the lobby, on their way to the stairs up to first grade.  I miss hugs from big kids who were once littler.  I miss admiring new backpacks and hairdos and being introduced to mommies and daddies.

Mostly, I miss talking to the newbies, the ones whose parents waited until the first morning of school to fill out the paperwork and who are waiting in an endless line of grown ups and kids who all seem to know where they are going and what they are doing.  It's scary. 

But then Grandma kneels down and wonders if you're new to Prince... and if this is your grown up.... and do you think she will miss you today?  Well, let's put a sticker on her shirt, and one on yours, so that if either of you feels a little lonesome, you can rub the sticker and feel the love.

Choosing the stickers.  Placing them carefully on the grown up's shirt.  Smiling through the tears standing on the eyelashes.

And the best part is, if you see someone with a sticker, that means they saw Grandma, too.  And you can smile at that person, because wearing a sticker means you smile at others... and they smile back.

And then it's quiet.  An hour or so of chaos, and then the emptiness left behind, with only the staff and a very tired, very sweaty, very happy Grandma to survey the quiet.  

I stay out of the classrooms the first week or so.  I wander the playground and the garden, with no particular plan, just soaking up the love.  And that's what I'm missing the most - the love.  I've always said that it is impossible to be sad when 5 year olds are hugging you.  I know now that it is possible to be sad in their absence.  


  1. Beautiful post. Will schools open in person there or are they delayed or done remotely?

    1. Remote learning.... which is an issue for the 60 some percent of our families with no internet access. I'm working on it.


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