Parenting

The first day of a brand new school year

Tracy's daughters started Junior Kindergarten and Grade One today, amid smiles and excitement for the year ahead.

Photo: Tracy Chappell

Anna crawled into bed with me this morning and whispered, “I’m so happy school is starting today.”

I’m so happy she’s happy. She was thrilled about her new dress to wear today, until she decided it was too “scratchy” and changed into an old favourite blue dress. Avery decided her new dress bothered her neck, so she changed into an old dress of Anna’s. See what I mean about back-to-school shopping?

They looked beautiful, and were smiling with anticipation. They even asked for ponytails, instead of fighting with me about even getting their hair brushed.

We decided last week to do Avery’s year of Junior Kindergarten at her new preschool. It was hard to know which way to go with her. She’s taken a while to settle into this new daycare. Then, last week, they told us that since she’s starting JK, she’s moving into a new room. Ugh! A whole new group to get used to. Adding a new school with another new teacher and another new class of kids for half-days, along with a bus ride to take her back to daycare, didn’t sound good to me at all. I was worried Avery would be anxious and overwhelmed and, well, she’s my baby, and I’m allowed to keep her as my baby for one more year, aren’t I? I was worried Avery would be upset to not be going to Anna’s school, but she is happy to be staying put at her daycare for the whole day, where she’ll learn the same JK curriculum. That was a relief for all of us.

Anna was a little extra huggy this morning, as we stood at the “other side” of the school where the grade ones go, away from the protective, fenced-in kindergarten courtyard. She met her friend and they hugged. Then, the teachers herded everyone into the gym to divide the kids up in to their classes. No parents allowed. What? Anna and her friend kissed and hugged their moms, held hands, and marched into the school with a gaggle of other kids, on the first day of their adventure into the first grade. Sigh.

Facebook and Twitter are buzzing today with back-to-school photos and reports of special breakfasts and new fall clothes and teary I-can’t-believe-my-baby’s-in-school commentary. I feel a little emotional but I also feel very proud and excited. The year ahead promises lots of growth and learning plus new friendships and fun for both of my big, beautiful girls.

So… did you cry? How did your first day of school go?