And by point of contrast

…I give you, lil’ monkey’s second first day of school. See the image at right, from yesterday’s post, for a glimpse of the stalwart toughie, her first first day.  

Note above, by stark contrast, the relaxed demeanor on this year’s model.  What a difference a year of loving community-building can do.  

Note the lack of out-thrust lower lip.  The placidity in the face, the furrow-free brow.  The apple in the hand, which Baba told her it was customary to bring to your teacher the first day of school.  In some fifteen years of active teaching and teaching-esque duty, I think I might have received enough apples to make one very feeble compote.  Or maybe enough to feed the lil’ monkey on a binge. Thus my staunch, pro-apple stance.

Of course as we were headed to school, she asks, “Why is it traditional to give an apple to your teacher?”  

As is my custom, I eagerly start to dig myself into a nice big hole.  “Well, lambchop, it symbolizes knowledge.”

“But why does it symbolize knowledge?”

“Well, there’s all sorts of malarkey about Adam and Eve and the tree of knowledge and how it was all her fault, and –”

The beloved, up until this point calm in the passenger seat, elbows her way in, before it all goes even further to pot.  “That’s enough, Baba.  It’s just a tradition, and that’s all.”

“Listen to your mother, dear,” I say.

Brevity, what a lark.

After we deliver her into the school, the little sophisticate barely registers our leaving.  Out at the curb, the first of the newbies is arriving.    We smile and wave.  The parents, poised to pluck their little one from the child seat in the back of the car, manage brave smiles back.  

“It hurts you more than it hurts them!  Just get a paper bag and breathe slowly into it!” we call out cheerily, as we wave to them.  Which is partially bunk, but it’s also true, too.   Me, I keep a paper bag handy at all times.

10 thoughts on “And by point of contrast”

  1. i took my little guy to school on tuesday and he was sad, which made me sad. i’m pretty sure my sadness had more to do with the fact that my hormones are still a-ragin’ 3 weeks after having a baby. congratulations! you guys are pros now.

  2. It makes my heart hurt a bit to see all these back to school photos. I’m not prepared for my youngest to be that age, and it’s careening toward me more quickly than I thought possible.

  3. Many hugs to you getting through YOUR first day of school. She looks so grown up and seems to know – herself – that she is indeed ready to go. Same thing with my son. He looked at me as if to say “Um, whats the big DEAL. Kids go to school when they turn 5. Sheesh mom.” Can’t he see that he is free falling out of his childhood? And I can’t slow him down, catch him, give him a big enough parachute, or even -deep breaths – stop him? AH! Anyway, paper bags all around, my friend.

  4. I KNOW. Our little one started grade one on Tuesday. Day one – trying not to bawl as she joined the lineup of students, and walked away from us into the classroom. Day two – trying not to bawl as she climbed away from us up the steps of the school bus. Every night – trying not to bawl as we look through the parent/teacher communication book in which she laboriously scribed her name, address, etc. She’s just so little. My sweetheart said to me last night as our heads hit the pillow – “I’m just NOT OKAY with how much time she’s suddenly spending with strangers. We don’t know what she does all day long, or how she feels about it.”
    And then, when we asked her what she was looking forward to most about going to school, number one was “you guys picking me up afterward.” Number two? “We’ll get to have a break from each other.”
    And I stand on the curb, waving wistfully as the bus pulls away, and she’s so busy looking ahead, she doesn’t see me. But still, that’s our job isn’t it? To be there, on the offchance that they do look for us.

  5. You people are stabbing a #2 pencil in my heart here, all the eloquence. Whatever shall we do. Before meandering down this primrose parenting path, I had no idea it would be a non-stop, daily exercise in how precious and precious little our time is.

    Sigh. Back to the harp music.

  6. Don’t we wish we could look out at life with the same calm, confident expression as your daughter. Her eyes are lovely and astonishing. What a gift to capture with a camera.

    You have so many more firsts to go through with your kiddles. They grow all to fast. A blink is longer.

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