The house sounded very different this morning. Zoe stretched out beside my office chair, already sensing the change that's taken place. (No more days filled with play forts and constant cuddles.)
I knew this morning would bring on a mixture of emotions, and I was right. Today, I was by myself, though the sounds of my rumbling tummy that needs to eat every hour and the fact that I sat a few inches further away from my desk reminded me that being alone with not last very long. Part of me wanted to dive right in to tackle my to-do list that's been growing for years, but there was part of me that wanted to lie on the couch and watch The View.
Another school year. This is the first year Jordyn's been living with us on the first day, so we got to capture all three kiddos... everyone experiencing "firsts" and "lasts," depending on how you look at it.
Senior. 3rd Grader. Kindergartner. (pre-hair comb for Rylee, so please ignore the fly-aways)
* * * * *
Last year, Carter got to tag along to Back-to-School Open House. No backpack. No classroom to visit. No school supplies to drop off.
This year, it was different.
When Rylee started Kindergarten, he was barely able to see above the bar across the window to the classroom.
He peeked in, though, wondering what Rylee would do in there.
|Rylee's Kindergarten Open House 2009|
This year, it was Rylee peeking in, remembering her year of Kindergarten in that very same classroom with the very same teacher, while Carter stood proudly, holding up his new Spiderman backpack and feeling every right to be there. (And definitely tall enough to see above the bar across the window.)
With big sister there to help if she was needed, Carter found his mailbox...
and took a little sneak-peek at all of the fun toys there would be to play with.
I didn't capture too much of Rylee's visit to her classroom.... we spent most of the time in Rylee's classroom with Carter begging for pizza and Rylee wanting to put her school supplies where she wanted them and not where her teacher's "direction sheet" said they needed to go. Jeremy somehow got caught up in the hallway talking to someone, and I was desperately trying to get tissue boxes with tissue boxes and hand sanitizer with hand sanitizer while reassuring Carter we'd eat when we got home. We ended the Open House with me shoving all of Rylee's school supplies back in her backpack to take home to re-mark with a "G." after "Rylee." Apparently another sweet little Rylee (spelled the same) made her way to Rylee's classroom this year.
* * * * *
The night before school started, we did just what should be done...
just like we did when Rylee started Kindergarten.
|The Night Before Kindergarten for Rylee 2009|
(And to Natasha Wing, who authors the cutest The Night Before... books -- I'd like to make a request.
The Night Before Kindergarten and The Night Before First Grade are adorable, but neither Rylee nor Carter were thrilled that I was changing words to say The Night Before Third Grade for Rylee. If you could continue up from First Grade, the kids and I would appreciate it!)
* * * * *
This morning, before school, we did our traditional "with Mom" and "with Dad" photos...
After pictures, we were off to school (and during the car ride, I tried to talk to the kids about what awesome days at school they would have, but honestly I was mentally planning how I was going to capture both kids playing on the playground, standing in line with their backpacks, walking into school, etc. at the same time. I was preparing myself for one kid to get a few less pictures of "first-day-of-school-on-the-playground.")
It didn't take but a few minutes on the playground, and Rylee had found her friends. (Actually, her friends found her!) A few more joined the group, and suddenly, arms were around each other and first-day-of-school smiles covered their faces. Apparently, they know this Mom likes to take pictures. I love her friends.
And this, my friend, is inclusion at it's best.
Rylee ran off with her friends to play, and when it was time for Dad to head to work, she willingly gave a quick hug and she was back at the monkey bars. (She really wanted the hug from Dad, despite the fact that her face doesn't look quite as interested!)
(This is where my earlier preparation paid off... no pictures of Rylee lining up when the bell rang, or heading in with her class. I'm telling myself I'm okay with this, but I'm not promising that I won't take pictures of her lining up and going into school with her class tomorrow.)
And now for Carter... finding his Kindergarten line took a little time, but once located, Carter carefully placed his backpack so he could run off to play.
He played for a few minutes, even saying "hi" to some kids he knew from preschool and baseball, but chose to follow Dad and me over to Rylee for a few pictures.
When the bell rang, he couldn't run to his line fast enough. He was excited and confident, and it was then that I realized I'd forgotten something... tissues. My sunglasses hid the tears forming in my eyes, but did nothing to hide my runny nose. The sound of that bell made me feel a twinge of sadness... and though I tried to quickly turn my feelings of "he's leaving me" to "he's growing up and so ready for this," the tears didn't stop.
While standing in line, his Dad and I watched him... he glanced around at all the kids while shielding his eyes from the bright sun. Every now and then, he'd look over at us and smile... sometimes wave. I saw what he was feeling. Excitement. Anxiety. Anticipation. Uneasiness. All of those feelings were there.
And I just wanted to run over to him and say, "I have those feelings, too, buddy."
But instead, I smiled a big smile (and turned away to wipe my nose on my sleeve, swearing next year I'd remember tissues.)
Jeremy and I went over for one more hug...
And stood back to let him go.
* * * * *
Now, you'd think that the photos would end there. But I was back at the school at lunchtime to help out... the school's lunch program changed and the Principal was short a few lunchroom helpers. We'll just pretend that I wanted to help out simply because I had the time to help and thought it was a generous thing to do. The fact that I'd get to see Carter eat his first-ever school lunch, and see Rylee try out school lunch for one of the first times (she's always brought cold lunch) didn't influence me at all. *wink*
Can't go wrong with pizza.
* * * * *
After helping at lunch, I ran a few errands, and before I knew it, I was back at the school, waiting outside for this big kid, who came running out with a big hug and a story about how the Gingerbread Man left clues all over the school, and that I needed to learn how to make Gingerbread Cookies.
We headed to the 3rd Grade door to wait for Rylee.
We waited and waited and finally decided to head inside to get her.
Rylee also had a big hug for me, and told us about her day of PE and pizza. (I was just happy she wasn't requesting I learn to bake anything.)
Ahhh... two happy, tired big kiddos after their first day of school!
It was a day filled with emotions. I know I will get used to being by myself during the day... and I will balance my days with relaxation and errands, time for myself and to-do lists, knowing that in 5 months, my life will change again.
However, I did find myself offering to help with lunch again tomorrow...
you know, just for one more day.