Today is the first day of kindergarten for Sabrina, the beautiful brown eyed little girl of one of my co-workers. It brought back a flood of memories of “first times’ with my daughter. It made me miss her in a gut wrenching way I haven’t felt since she left home for college. The thing with our children growing up and moving away is that we no longer get to experience the first time experiences with them in the same way as when they were children. I crave that first hand involvement even still but alas it is not to be because my little girl has run off and become a grown up while I had my head turned for just a second.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the freedom of being still somewhat young and unencumbered and I love that she has become this amazing young woman. My job as her parent was to raise her in such a way that she was ready to take on the adventures of adulthood and I feel like I did a more than adequate job. I was fortunate because Anne Marie was, for the most part, pretty easy to work with. She had a mind of her own and I encouraged that, sometimes to my own detriment, and it has made her into a strong, confident and independent young woman.
Anne’s first day of kindergarten was actually pretty easy for me because she attended kindergarten in the same place she had been attending day care for years. The first day of first grade was the tough one. It was actually made easier for both of us because Kristin my neighbor Georgia’s daughter started the same day and Georgia had to work.
Two little blonde girls in sweet little summery dresses wearing their new white sandals and carrying their brightly colored new backpacks on their backs tumbled out of my car chattering away to each other as always. I shut the car doors and we walked across the parking lot to the outside playground area where all of the children were to convene. They had signs posted where they were supposed to go so we stood at the edge of the blacktop and observed the controlled chaos of the first day of school until we located their classroom’s sign.
The girls were quieter now, taking in the scene and, although they both handled it well, I could tell they were a little scared. I took a deep breath and clearing the frog from my throat I took a slightly sweaty small hand in each of mine and proceeded across the basketball court to the far side to drop my charges. As I walked I kept up a cheerful banter with both girls for their sakes and for mine. That frog would just not go away!
About six steps into our journey to the beginning of “real school” as Anne Marie called it I felt a slight tug at the waist of my skirt and briefly wondered what it was but kept walking. Seconds later the mystery was solved as my off white satin slip began a quick descent down over my hips and legs and fell to my feet. Apparently the waistband elastic had given out at that very moment. I let go of the girls’ hands and as quickly and surreptitiously as possible stepped out of the offending garment, gathered it up and stuffed it in my over-sized bag. You wonder why I carry a big purse?
Both girls were giggling of course and Kristin, god love her, exclaimed loudly and mirthfully “Mary your PANTIES FELL DOWN!”
Grabbing both hands firmly again I proceeded across the basketball court with an embarrassed smile not looking at anyone. I said quietly through gritted teeth (still smiling) to Kristin, “it was my slip SWEETIE now hush okay?” Both girls could not contain themselves and who could blame them? I gave my good bye hugs and kisses and I could still hear their peals of laughter as I rounded the corner and headed back to my car. Needless to say I was smiling broadly through my tears as I watched from the car as my little lovelies were herded into a single file line through the big blue doors to begin a new chapter in their lives. I threw that slip away.