My daughter and I have a ritual. After lights out, I sit on her bed in the dark and we talk about the upcoming week. She likes me to go over each day, telling her what is planned, what may happen, and what could be. GIRL is not big on surprises. She loves her life carved out in orderly pieces, with dashes of spontaneity.
Sunday night was such a night. We were at my mother's house, so she was sleeping in a big bed. I was able to lie next to her, both of us quietly breathing in the dark.
Tell me about the week, Mama.
And, I did.
We arrived at Tuesday, the first day of 1st grade.
Would you like me to walk you to your classroom on Tuesday, GIRL?
There was a sigh in the dark. Both of us, in synch, thinking very different thoughts.
Mommy, do parents get to stay for the morning on the first day in 1st grade, like they did in Kindergarten?
I don't think so, GIRL.
OK. Then I don't want you to volunteer on Tuesday.
Would you like to have the day to yourself, so that you can tell me about it?
Yes! And, after Tuesday, you can volunteer whenever you want to! But, not on Tuesday.
O.K., my little schnooks.
I kissed the soft baby hair that falls across my daughter's forehead, and said Good Night.
How can this little girl be so wise?
And, then came yesterday...
I was fine until GIRL lined up with all the children outside the classroom, and GIRL's teacher told the parents to give their child a hug and a kiss good-bye. It was time. Everyone knew it, but me. I hugged my GIRL tight, and let go... Then I walked away. She was ready, but my sunglasses didn't quite make it back over my wet eyes...