I watched you walking down the sidewalk skipping to the beat inside your head. You were quiet. I was too. Your brother was not. This is nothing new.
It was your first day of kindergarten. One of those big days. The kind that makes your mom catch her breath and squint her eyes and think “wait a second, weren’t you just screaming in the arms of the doctor? Didn’t I just feel the warm swaddled weight of you in my arms? Didn’t we just lock eyes at that first feeding? How in the world did we get here?” The kind of day where it’s ok to cry. They expect you to.
And yes, I was crying. But not for what I might have expected. These weren’t sad tears. No “my baby is growing too fast” thoughts running through my head. Not today anyway.
Today I was thinking of me. I was remembering my first day of school. The school days are probably some of the earliest memories I have. That excited feeling to greet my teacher and my friends and my classroom. The anticipation of where I would sit and what we would learn. I remember the weight of the backpack, the smell of the school, the feel of the new pencils sharpened and ready. I loved school. Everything about it.
And now here I stand, behind you, watching you walk into a world even your most magical dreams can not dream up.
Education is everything. Growing and learning and inquiring and creating and trying and succeeding. That is what waits ahead for you.
And that is what has me all sorts of choked up.
These last five years you have been surrounded by wonderful preschool teachers and family members and friends, and oh yes, myself, eager to watch you learn. But there is definitely something incredibly special about being a part of a school. A real school filled with teachers and administrators and support people who are all cheering you on. It is an environment where the main goal is to help you reach your greatest potential. You get to be a part of that now. You get to have your eyes open every single day, and hopefully not just until you are 18 or 22 or 26 but for every day after that.
I hope you fall in love with learning in the same way I did 30 years ago. That is what I am thinking as we walk down the street just blocks from your school and I am trying to get all those tears wiped away before you notice.
And then you turned around and look at me and grin. “Mommy, I am just so excited to see my teacher!”
That is when I knew.
You have fallen in love with school already.
May the little Kindergartner or Fourth Grader or High School Senior or College Freshmen or Non-Traditional Student in your home have a year of falling in love with learning, for the first time or 100th time.