Cecilia is now officially a second grader. The bus came (and stopped this year) and off she went, a new grade and a new school.
She was alternately bursting with chatter and quietly withdrawn this morning, a bundle of nervous excitement. When she arrived home, it was all smiles and criss-crossing stories about her first day. I’m sure by November we will be able to piece together some semblance of her normal classroom routine, but for now, pictures of the morning….
(Note: It was pajama day at day care for Ally. Four out of five days we are with it enough to get her formally dressed before leaving the house.)
Just a quick update. After two buses went by and the clock ticking later, things were getting anxious again on Spring St. Thankfully, the next one stopped and after a brief hesitation Cecilia hopped on.
The bus, at last
Doesn’t look back
On her way
She came down the stairs this morning completely dressed with her new shoes snug and tight. She told us right off she had left her lovey and blanket up on her bed because baby things didn’t belong in kindergarten (small heartbreak). She was ready to go.
Now if only the school had been ready to go, too.
Cecilia’s first lesson was about civics and public bureaucracy and that specific type of sticky red tape that might shuffle bus routes around at the last minute and drop an address off the list and leave a very excited 5 year old watching yellow bus after yellow bus approach and then pass as she stands at the end of her driveway with her new backpack.
Honestly, after the initial (and totally understandable) display of tears, Cecilia handled it better than her parents. She was brave and resilient and by the time we dropped her off at school she was smiling and made a very memorable entrance.
Meanwhile, Mom and Dad were still stewing a bit and that feeling took awhile (and a hard workout) to fade, but after a nice lunch, a bottle of wine (also understandable in my opinion) and some commiserating we were able to start laughing it off.
Just in time for another call from school asking if Cecilia should be on the bus home or going to the after school program. Mind you, we’d filled out a very specific form on when and where she should be picked up and dropped off and CECILIA WAS WEARING A NAME TAG THE SCHOOL SUPPLIED WITH THAT SAME INFORMATION AROUND HER NECK!
Thankfully, the classroom part of the day appears to have gone off without a hitch and Cecilia gave us a very excited rundown of everything they did. She learned classroom rules. Practiced the letter ‘R.’ And used the monkey bars so much she has blisters. Her biggest gripe was the very short amount of time they get to eat lunch. No more lingering lunches.
She also told us very seriously that her biggest lesson learned today was that “Nothing is perfect.” Which is a fine lesson to learn in time, but perhaps not on the first day of kindergarten.
Stay tuned. In the last eight hours we’ve been told she is on 3 different buses so despite stopping off at the school offices in person to make sure things were all copacetic, I’m not exactly confident this whole scene won’t repeat itself tomorrow.
There is one school picture of mine that I remember with particular clarity. It was probably first or second grade and I have on a maroon Izod sweater, blue pants and my Eliot-from-ET bowl haircut is flat and perfect. I look good. Damn good. That’s the last time I remember thinking that while looking at a school photo. Do they do this in other countries? Or is it a particularly American thing? To mark each academic year with a photo set against a golden forest backdrop.
As a student I would have been totally willing to forgo this annual existential torture if it meant not having so, so many pieces of evidence of just how awkward those years were. I’m perfectly willing to expunge 1989-1997 from my memory. It’s just littered with a minefield of cringing memories and bad middle school dances.
As a parent however, I’m finally starting to see the value of the ritual and I will scrap and claw to keep paying those exorbitant printing fees each year for those faux-backdrops and timeless evidence. Here is this year’s photo and she looks good, damn good, and she always will to me.
(Note: the first year the school was open there weren’t enough students to get a photographer, so I substituted my own September photo).