What can I say about the first day of school that hasn't already been said by a million mothers over hundreds of years? It's a day of trial and triumph. It's a test of patience and a trampling of emotions. It's raw. It's amazing. It's just like every other day but with a gut wrenching twist.
B's in sixth grade now. That's middle school out here in southern California. That means she's in there with 13 year-olds. THIRTEEN YEAR-OLDS. Someday she'll be 13, too. Jesus help me come to grips with that.
When I took her to orientation on Monday she grabbed my hand and held it as we walked onto that massive campus. My instinct was to let go because I didn't want other kids to see and judge her as a baby. She's already a foot smaller than most kids in her grade. She's a year younger. But I didn't let go. I felt her big-girl hand in mine and willed my confidence to flow into her.
My plan today was to drop her off because I thought it would look silly if I walked her in. After all it is middle school. But as we drove up she says "Look mom, there are other parents going in!" So I walked her in. Immediately her girl scout sister runs up to her and gleefully they begin comparing class schedules. That was my cue to go. Kiss on the head, hug around the shoulders, and a promise to pick her up at the end of the day.
B gets more independent every year which makes my role easier every year, and somehow that makes it immensely harder. But adaptation is coming. It's already in the works, and in two weeks' time everything will seem normal and sane. And then next year I'll go through this all over again.