The First Day of Kindergarten

28 Aug

It’s too quiet in the car. There’s no little voice singing in the back seat. There are no questions, comments, observations, distracting me as I drive. No requests for Tic Tacs, Kleenex, opinions on made-up tunes. I can put on my music as loudly as I want.

But somehow I don’t want it loud. Somehow none of the stations I pick make me happy.

The very first day. In the rain. A little nervous…but VERY excited!

There is no small body hanging on to the end of my grocery cart. No tiny voice asking me for cupcakes. No suggestions about cheese, soda pop, cereal. No wee girl begging to go see the lobsters in their tank.

But I want to see the lobsters.

The Buddy Box. This is the daytime home of “Buddy”…Boo’s precious blanket. On the first day of school Buddy went to class and stayed in the backpack all day. But on the next two days…into the box she went. She even has a pillow and, of course, a blanket, to make her comfy.

On the second day of school they read The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn and learned about racoons!

There are no new toys on the floor. No clothes being changed five times a day, no snacks, treats, or meals being requested every time I turn around. There is no one to help me fold the clothes. No one to help me carry in the groceries. No one to water the plants with me, stir the pasta with me, read books with me. There is no one to wait by the bathroom door.

Everything is wrong.

On the first day she came home, changed her clothes…and fell asleep on the couch before dinner!

For 13 years I have put in my time, knowing that someday my time would be my own again.

Now that it’s here I think I want it all back.

I did not think that I would cry.

I was wrong.

Meep’s first day of 5th grade. All three of them began on different days…so I took a general “first day” shot with everyone.


29 Responses to “The First Day of Kindergarten”

  1. Anne Marie August 28, 2012 at 7:11 am #

    I know how you feel. I always joke that I am happy that they are going back to school, but really, I feel a void when they leave. I miss the pitter-pat of little feet, the paint covered hands and endless request for peanut butter sandwiches and juice boxes. They grow up so fast. I am proud of the young people they are growing into, but I miss my babies. 🙂 Beautifully written, Gretchen!

  2. hotlyspiced August 28, 2012 at 7:15 am #

    Oh dear. That’s so sad. I feel for you. And I certainly know how you feel. My baby went to school three years ago and yes, it was strange to have the house to myself and strange not to be taking someone with me every where I went. But life is all about going through changes and you do learn to adapt to each new stage. xx

    • Gretchen O'Donnell August 28, 2012 at 7:29 am #

      Yes, it’s all good, really…it’s just DIFFERENT! And I don’t do change very well. It’s good to know that others understand. I just with I’d been warned how weird it would be!

  3. Rita Vander Kooi August 28, 2012 at 7:16 am #

    So precious. Of course you would miss Lucy. I simply love the last photo with her trying to be big enough.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell August 28, 2012 at 7:31 am #

      I know! I might have to use that for the Christmas card. Enjoy your time, Rita. And know that when your last one gets on that bus…you’re going to need to give yourself a day or two to recover. Good thing you’ve got a few years to prepare.

  4. treadlemusic August 28, 2012 at 7:37 am #

    Beautiful children! Those sentiments are “ringing” round the world right now! The emptiness and sadness (for me) finally gave way to a new “normal” that was way too quiet!!! But, then, years later, the blessings of grand children came and, now, great grand daughter! And the circle of life goes round and round……..sigh!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell August 28, 2012 at 7:45 am #

      Yes, it’s all as it should be, isn’t it? It’s just that it’s not as I expected it to be. Though, to be sure…it has it advantages, too!

      • treadlemusic August 28, 2012 at 7:50 am #

        Yes, and those “advantages” will become the new ‘norm’ for you all……blessings, D

  5. Donya Faye Meester August 28, 2012 at 8:03 am #

    You write it so perfect, made me cry, I have to enjoy every second of this year with Brayden before we send him to Kindergarten next year! It was fun to read and see your pictures Gretchen! (sniff, sniff)

    • Gretchen O'Donnell August 28, 2012 at 8:05 am #

      Oh, thanks, Donya! Yes – enjoy your moments, snuggle and cuddle and read books…it all goes by so fast. I sound like an old lady saying that, but it’s TRUE!

  6. Minnesota Prairie Roots August 28, 2012 at 8:13 am #

    Oh, Gretchen, here’s hugs to you. I so feel your emptiness, your aching mother’s heart.

    I do have to say that I love Lucy’s sailor dress because I had one almost exactly like that as a child. Where did you get it? As soon as I saw it, the memories came rushing back of the matching sailor dresses my sister Lanae and I wore. I believe our aunt stitched them for us. What I wouldn’t give to have that dress.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell August 28, 2012 at 8:19 am #

      Yes, it’s good to know that others have gone before me and can relate! You, of course, especially can relate this year, though for you it’s extends to having fewer people to cook for, less laundry to do, etc. Ugh. As for the dress, it was a hand-me down! Funny how that style never really goes out of style!

  7. gardenfreshtomatoes August 28, 2012 at 8:17 am #

    It gets easier…The only one I cried with was m youngest. He looked so tiny compared to all the others….
    Now, we’re back there with the granddaughter. Her first day of preschool is next week. It’ll only be 2 half-days, but I’m going to miss my Little Garden Buddy….

    • Gretchen O'Donnell August 28, 2012 at 8:22 am #

      Yes, for sure. I don’t think I cried with the other two, either – this is just so much more drastic!! I found myself wondering how your garden is doing the other day. I am NOW going to go find out!

  8. Michelle Gilbertson August 28, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

    My heart goes out to you Gretchen as you send your last child to school. Next year it will be my turn and I already feel a little sadness in my heart. I couldn’t get Caleb out the door fast enough and now I want this next year to be slow. Yes, life is full of change and I pray that you find a new normal with each passing day.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell August 28, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

      I can relate, Michelle! I was so ready for my oldest to go off and expand his horizons…and I know that our youngest is ready, too. I just wasn’t as ready for it to happen as I thought I was! Prepare yourself for next year! It’s so crazy quiet. Thanks so much for commenting!

  9. joey August 28, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

    Our Lucy has her first day of High School on Tuesday. It’s almost just as hard!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell August 28, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

      I believe you! That will be us in two years. Thanks so much for stopping by, Joey, and for letting me know you did!

  10. Susan Hansberger August 28, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

    This is so true Gretchen and very well said! Love the pictures, especially the 1st day of school shot. Some days can be lonely and some days I wish for 20 more minutes so I can finish up a project! Enjoy your writing time friend.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell August 28, 2012 at 7:58 pm #

      Ha, yes, by the time I’m adjusted to the silence it’s time to go get them! I need to figure out how to manage my time all over again…like I did in college. Somehow I forgot over the years! Thanks for your comments and for stopping by, Susan!

  11. whatimeant2say August 28, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

    You have a beautiful family, and this post brought tears to my eyes!

  12. Alice August 31, 2012 at 9:31 am #

    So very sweet. Save this blog entry for the scrapbooks. I am enjoying your blog!

  13. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen September 2, 2012 at 11:56 am #

    Oh, dear.. I should have known, and now here I am wiping away my own tears. What beautiful words, you’ve captured the sadness of every mother on that first day of school when her little one is gone. I’d go back to those days in an instant, if only I could. Such precious, precious days..

    • Gretchen O'Donnell September 2, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

      Yeah, it’s funny how the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, isn’t it? Boo fell asleep in my lap this afternoon as I was reading outloud and I just let her stay there as long as I could! Hopefully I’m learning to appreciate my current grass…

  14. rutheh September 5, 2012 at 10:25 pm #

    Lovely. I have first day of school shots from all the years. Touching and sweet and yes, a bit sad but you write of a universal experience in such a way, that even if someone didn’t have the actual experience, they could feel it.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell September 6, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

      Oh, that’s lovely. I’m so glad! I hope that is true for sure. Yes, those “first day” shots are a requirement, aren’t they? Always so fun to look back on!

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