Fall 2012

Fall 2012
[learning to live a perfectly imperfect life]


New situations tend to cause a little anxiety. New things like... a new school year. A new classroom. A new teacher. New friends. A new schedule that involved a FULL day of school (instead of 1/2 day like Kindergarten.) A new morning routine. New things to learn.

New, new, new...

Because of all the new things happening, it probably wouldn't surprise you if I told you that someone had a nervous stomach the evening of Open House.

It wouldn't surprise you if I told you someone had difficulty sleeping the night before the 1st day of school.

And it probably wouldn't surprise you if I told you someone woke up extra early on the 1st day of school, just to be sure everything was ready to go in time (to be 15 minutes early) to school.

Would it surprise you if I told you that someone was Rylee Me?

So maybe new things cause a bit more anxiety in the parents than the kids.

(Alright... fine. Maybe new things cause a bit more anxiety in me... I don't recall Jeremy losing any sleep the night before Rylee's 1st day.)


Taking Rylee to school on the 1st day of First Grade didn't seem to phase her too much. She was her typical self... gobbling up her favorite breakfast of peanut butter and jelly toast, taking a few minutes to play with her dolls, and detesting every second of teeth-brushing and hair-combing.

Before Dad headed to work, we got a few pictures...

With Dad -

And with Mom.

And it's off to school we go. *high ho, high ho...*

Immediately upon arrival at the playground you see different types of kids and their parents...

You have....

kids who are pros at this school-thing... they barely have 1 foot out of the car door and they're already yelling at a friend they see on the playground. They turn and give an insincere "love ya" to the parent dropping them off, and they take off, as if the summer months left them starving for socialization.

With those kids come parents who pull up to the curb, possibly desiring a hug and kiss but know there's no way on earth they're gonna get one... say goodbye to their son or daughter, and pull away with barely a glimpse back toward the school.

You have...

kids who have backpacks nearly the size of themselves... they walk hand-in-hand with their parents onto the playground, looking around at all the hussle and bussle of kids and wonder what's in store for them. They might see the playground equipment and think it would be fun to play on, but staying beside Mom or Dad seems safer.

With those kids come parents who have a tight grasp of their children's hands with one hand, and their camera in the other hand. They speak reassuring words..."You have such a nice teacher... you'll meet lots of new friends... school is going to be so much fun!" And all the while, they are blinking back the tears created by the "my-baby's-going-to-Kindergarten" thoughts. They stand closely to where the children line up, making sure they will be ready to go when the bell rings.

And then you have... well.... me.

Though the "my-baby's-going-to-Kindergarten" thoughts weren't there, I surely had the
"I-can't-believe-she's-in-First-Grade" thoughts.

Though not a parent new to the school playground, I still had my camera hung around my neck. (I know... I hear you all gasping with shock. I figure, I'm gonna get as many years worth of "going-to-school" photos as possible, because I know one of these years, Rylee will give me that, "Oh my gosh you are not going to follow me with that camera, are you?")

So we find the new "Mrs. Nuebel's First Grade line", and Rylee sets her backpack down. "Hi, Rylee!" I hear a few of her classmates from last year greet Rylee, and she gives a little grin. Just as I start to ask Rylee to pose by her new First Grade line, I turn to see this.

Off to play. Light on her feet, she takes off for the playground.

I'm sure she would have been fine with us leaving at that point. But, it was the 1st day of First Grade, and you only get this day once.

Carter and I follow Rylee over to the playground, and see some familiar faces from Kindergarten. For a few minutes, there's time to play, and then...


Just as she had taken off to the playground, she headed back toward the school.

Carter and I follow her... (he's the little guy in orange trying to keep up.) Now, I am fully aware that if someone were to be watching in on this situation, their thoughts might be something like this... "Geesh, look at that Mom! Obviously her daughter is completely comfortable heading to school on her own, but yet she's following her around anyway! Wow... that Mom needs to just let go!"

Yup. I'm totally okay being "that Mom."

So, she finds her backpack and stands in line... no hesitation, no fear... full of confidence.

Big girl. Big First Grader.

As I visit with another Mom I know, the teacher on playground duty welcomes the kids... making sure everyone was in the correct line and had their own backpacks. (I pity the kids who all got the same Spiderman backpack... their Mom or Dad will be getting out the Sharpie marker tonight for sure.)

I "whisper-yell" to Rylee... (you know, what you do when you are trying to be discrete but still need to say it loud enough to get a particular person's attention so you might as well have just forgotten the "whisper" part and yelled...) She turns and I mouth "SMILE!"...

Her line begins to move toward the door, and I want so much to run up and give her a big hug... tell her I love her and will miss her and that she has such a nice teacher and she'll meet lots of new friends and that First Grade is going to be so much fun....

but she doesn't really need to hear all of that.

Because, from the looks of it -- her confidence, her courage, her certainty --

she already knows.

And hopefully, that's nothing new.


Anonymous said...

*sniff* I remember those days so well. And you certainly described the feelings every parent has. I can't say I was "that Mom" because we didn't have a camera, but I remember waving through the tears and wanting to peek in through the windows after they got inside. It's hard when they grow up so darn fast!! As usual, your story moved me to tears again. I love reading your blogs!
Gma Mary

Jane said...

OMG Carin, I am so glad to see you blogging again! I have been checking your blog every month since June and was so happy today to see you are back on-line. Of course, this post has left me in tears - "happy tears" of course. Your little Riley is just beautiful and you are such a wonderful Mother (and I don't even know you, but YOU ARE!)Lily started JK this week and she was so ready! Me on the other hand, was the Mom with the camera and with the tears...but she will do great. Thanks for being an inspiration!