My nerves woke me early. It was my third first day of school in a week. We had already survived Rose’s first day of preschool. Then, earlier in the week, we had welcomed students back to the school where I work. I had helped kindergarteners entering the building for the first time, alone, find their way to their classrooms. I read their nervous and excited eyes and imagined the shy smiles hidden behind their masks. “Who is your teacher?” I asked one student. “Kindergarten!” he announced proudly. That night, at the dinner table, I coached my own children. “What will you say when someone asks you your teachers name?”
This third first day belonged to Wren and Adi and they were headed to a new school for fourth and second grade respectively. Growing up, I always lived in the same house. I went to the same familiar elementary school from kindergarten through sixth grade. Most of my best friends through high school remained my friends from elementary school. Of course, I wondered if moving the girls was the right move. What if they hated it? What if they didn’t make friends? The worries were endless.
The night before the first day, Wren sat in her bed with worried eyes. I held her and said, “Just be brave. Be you. They’ll love you.” As tears slid down her cheeks, I tried to be brave for her. “You love school. I know after tomorrow, you will be so excited to go back,” I said, praying this would be the case.
On their first day, I woke well before the alarm I had set. I decided to work off some nervous energy with an unscheduled workout. After showering and getting dressed, my phone began to ring. I rushed to answer. The remnants of Hurricane Ida (also my Mom’s name) had rolled through our area the night before and I knew some schools might be delayed. Since it was already close to 6am, I figured it was my kids’ school district. Our district would never make a call for a delay this late.
As I scrambled to answer the call, I was confused when I heard my district named as the school with the delay. As soon as the recorded message ended, I pulled up my school email to double check the news. Had I heard correctly?
As I stood in my bedroom, as ready for the day as I could be, I let the tears spill over. I had a delayed opening, which meant I would be able to go to drop off for my own kids on their first day at a new school.
I looked out my window, to the beautiful blue sky, and said prayer of thanks.