Today is a big day at our house. Our oldest child started Kindergarten! With a September birthday, she had to wait a whole extra year to go. But, after much anticipation, the day is finally here!
Most of my friends' children (Gianna's first friends in life) started Kindergarten on Monday. But, at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic School, the first day is today (Thursday)! On my once-a-day perusal of Facebook this week, I have seen countless first day of school pictures and read multiple "it will never be the same again and everything is already different" commentaries. I guess it's my turn!
I had mixed emotions as I watched the giant yellow school bus drive away. I have been very excited all summer about Gianna starting school, and not really sad at all. I know that Gianna (and I!) are both more than ready for this milestone. I joke all the time that with 5 children under the age of 6, it's about time that someone went to school :).
But, I must admit it is a most unsettling feeling to watch your constant companion of almost 6 years drive away without you. She has never even been in anyone else's car, and yet there she is in a giant vehicle that is quickly moving out of sight. I fight feelings to rush back to my car to stalk the bus, to watch her walk into school, to make sure that she is safely in her classroom...to stop everything (too late to homeschool?!).
It wasn't until the bus pulled away that I realized that I had absolutely no plans for the day (this is quite rare for me as I keep us pretty booked!). The only thing for my calendar for today was "Kindergarten." I don't think I fully grasped that we all weren't going with her!
Luckily, a friend called and invited us to the playground on this gorgeous late summer day. We said a Hail Mary in the car that Gianna would have a wonderful first day. I added my own silent prayers that St. Gianna and her guardian angel would watch over her. That her Blessed Mother would be with her as her earthly mother sits this "one" out.
It was when we first got to the playground that I started to miss Gianna. There was no one but me to unstrap all the carseats!! And, Joseph (age 4 1/2) isn't quite strong enough to hold the bathroom door open wide so I can squeeze the double stroller inside!
But, when I gleefully watched my younger children playing in the sandbox and chasing a ladybug, it struck me that Gianna is exactly where she needs to be. She has done the sandbox and ladybug thing (and she will continue to do so in the afternoons and weekends).
Now is her time to learn to read, to write, to grow in character, and to continue to learn her Catholic faith. She will have a life away from our family...and this is okay...and even good. And, we are so blessed that she is able to do all of this at a wonderful Catholic school just minutes from our house.
Spread your wings, Gianna Marie...
But know that we'll be waiting for you at 3:13 when you get off that bus!