We’re here again…the night before school starts. Our soon to be third grader is a buzz with excitement. Outfit picked out, even made her own lunch (and her dad’s, too). She is confident and eager, poised and excited. “I just can’t wait to LEARN!” she answers when I ask what she is most looking forward to. I watch as she stands with her dad…refrigerator door open and in her hand, dutifully pointing out the lunch he is to bring with him to work tomorrow. She exudes independence and I am in awe of her. And yet it feels like something is missing. My nerves? The sentimental tears I have shed in years past? Sure, this is not our first time. We have already lived through the first day of preschool, the last day of preschool, the first day of kindergarten, first time on the school bus, the last day of kindergarten…all the way up to this night..this seemingly ordinary night.
Earlier in the day, we visit her new classroom…hugs for the office staff, the school nurse, knowing smiles and greetings from all of her past teachers as we walk down the hallways that will house memories of all her school years. Just as we are at our son’s preschool, we are staples in a building that has become part of our daily life…part of our community. My daughter and I stand confidently together, eager and excited about the year to come. And so tonight, for the first time, there are no nerves…no sentimental tears. Only a comforting feeling of routine, and excitement over returning home after a long, wonderful summer. And yet, somewhere in our very ordinary evening, a feeling of overwhelming gratitude emerges. Gratitude for the normal and the routine…of life moving forward as it should for our child. We surely remember the moments that bring great joy, sadness and change to our lives. But tonight, I know I will always remember the ordinary…the night before our daughter started third grade.
Irina Gott is a Coop and Cottage Street parent and mother of two wonderful children