This morning I took my oldest daughter to school for her first day of kindergarten. Last night I helped my wife pack her lunch. This morning, she dressed in her new school clothes, gathered her new lunch box, school supplies and backpack and we headed off to school. During the first week I am allowed to walk her to her class. We prayed in the car together before gettingt out. We walked through the hallways and found her class. After situating her things in her locker it was time to give her a hug and leave her in her class.
For the last several weeks she has been very nervous about starting school. She has cried and pleaded not to go. She has asked innumerable questions about what it will be like through streaming tears and a quivering chin. But yesterday all of that gave way to a new found bravery. She decided she was excited for school. At first the proclamations of excitement were tentative, but over the course of the day her confidence grew. She went to bed with no problems. She got up and ready for school with no signs of anxiety or fear.
But as I gave her a hug and prepared to leave she clung to me. As I knelt on her classroom floor, our arms wrapped around each other, she whispered in my ear, “daddy, I don’t want you to go.” She didn’t want the hug to end. Neither did I. After another squeeze I pulled back my head to look her in the eye and reassure her. Her eyes were welling with tears but she didn’t give in to them. I could tell she was being brave. The teacher came and took her by the hand and led her to a table to color with some of the other kids. I left the room but didn’t go far. I stood in the hallway and watched for a while, not doing nearly as good a job fighting tears as she did.
This afternoon I will pick her up from school and celebrate a great first day. I want to hear all about her day over some ice cream. And then, tomorrow, we will do it all over again.