The First Day

The day I thought I had dreaded since knowing that Tatum was my last and would one day walk through the door of a kindergarten classroom has come and gone. And I didn't shed a tear. It's actually kind of ... nice. Of course, I'm only about 48 hours into this whole new phase of my life, but so far, so good.

We have many traditions we celebrate before school starts that help to build excitement for the new year (and soften the blow of summer ending). Here's what we do:

The girls don't really enjoy school clothes shopping but like to try them on at home, so last year we established "The First Outfit Fashion Show". I lay out all their new clothes with matching accessories, they decide which ones they want to model for Tye and I, and we have a fun fashion show. I get to see how the clothes fit on them and we help them decide their best look for the first day of school. Dad's opinion carries a lot of weight.

Next, we make the traditional snickerdoodles for teacher gifts and for a snack after they get home on the first day when I make them recount their entire day to me from beginning to end. It eases the torture a little bit. Then we go up to their school (this year we had 2 campuses to visit!) and say a prayer together, asking for blessings throughout the year and praying for protection while they are away from home. We've done this since Ava started 6 years ago, and it just gives me a greater sense of peace watching them walk into school each morning. God has been so faithful in granting our requests each year, and we won't ever skip this important tradition. Finally, I buy a charm for each school-goer that represents their grade and I present it to her when she comes home. It got a lot more expensive this year with all 3, but one day they will hopefully have a bracelet full of charms that they will remember and cherish. This year's selections held specific meanings for each recipient and were:

Tatum was ecstatic on the first day of school. She was up at the crack of dawn, raring to go. At breakfast, her teeth were chattering she was so excited. There were a few moments of hesitation here and there, but when I finally left her in the care of her awesome, fun kinder teacher, she was sitting at her table coloring her Snow White picture like it was her job.

Gentry has grown and matured overnight, it seems! She stands almost eye to eye with me and walks around in my shoes at home (which are still thankfully a couple of sizes too big for her). She is so sweet with Tatum and takes her role as big sister very seriously at school. Yesterday I surprised them at pick-up time and met them to walk home together. Gentry was already holding Tatum's hand when they came out of the doors. Tatum saw me and her face fell, then she whispered something to her sister, who told me, "Um, she said she wants to walk home with just me. We'll meet you there." Okay, then. I took the shortcut home and waited for them to arrive. I think they'll do just fine.
I've had a harder time with this one. My big 5th grader. I vividly recall her first day of kindergarten, what I picked out for her to wear, where she sat and how we were all so glad to see her when she got home. Now she's taking another big step farther away from me. She's at a new school with a different academic approach, more technology, harder classes with kids whose parents I don't know. This child loves school like no other so I know she will do great, but for me, it's taking some adjusting, and I'm not just talking about the insane car pick-up line!
This next picture is a little misleading because they don't all go to the same school anymore, but I couldn't resist a photo of all 3 as we walked Tatum to her class. The older girls both subconsciously flanked her to escort her through the halls they know so well, pointing out every room and teacher we passed.
They made lots of these fun "Rolo pencils" for some of their favorite teachers/staff. My favorite part: they could put them together themselves!
It blew my mind a little bit to find out that one of Ava's teachers was a male. The possibility had never crossed my mind, and all of my teacher gifts are always for women! I had already made the gifts, complete with ribbon, when we discovered "she" was a "he" so we removed the ribbon, added the name, and Voila! A guy teacher gift!

My little sous chefs making the First Day snickerdoodles.
And finally, the traditional kindergarten signing of the school photo frame. Ava and Gentry both signed theirs before their kinder year, and Tatum's has stood blank for several years, waiting for her turn. As you can tell, penmanship is not her strong suit, and she insists on underlining everything, but it's legible.
Happy New School Year, everyone! I'm off to sew, uninterrupted, in my quiet house!

1 comment:

emily said...

Oh, Jere'!!! How precious!! Congrats on your phase 1 of empty nesting ;) I cannot believe that I am 29 wks pregnant & you just got all 3 in school-- I think my timing is off ;) Wish you were down the street so I could help you kill some of your free time!! ENJOY IT!!!

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